USA, 2012: Django Unchained
This is Quentin Tarantino pulling out all the stops. Django Unchained is brutal, grisly, gory, and unbelievably entertaining. Horrifying violence is nothing new to the director, but this is definitely a new standard in schlocky self-aware ridiculousness. Everything is completely over the top, from the gun fights to the explosions to the humor to the larger-than-life characters. Jamie Foxx as a slave-turned-gunslinger is impressive, but he and the rest of the cast are totally overshadowed by Christoph Waltz as Django’s bounty hunter mentor King Schultz. A cross between Waltz’s performance as Hans Landa in Tarantino’s previous Inglourious Basterds and Tombstone’s Wyatt Earp, the overeducated Schultz is a marvel in the movie’s version of the pre-Civil War American South. Half the fun of the film is simply watching how out of place Waltz’s character is with the rest of his surroundings, and how everything seems to miraculously fits together regardless. Speaking of bizarre juxtapositions, Tarantino deserves once again to be commended for his brilliant choice of movie music, a wonderful eclectic mix of everything from Johnny Cash to Rick Ross to Ennio Morricone. Assuming the subject matter and its portrayal doesn’t rub you too much the wrong way, Django Unchained is one of the most fun films of the past year, and worth every dollar to go watch in theaters.
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