Ben Oliver

Banner image for Django Unchained

Django Unchained

Good morning, inn keeper. Two beers for two weary travelers!
02 February 2014

Tarantino once again successfully bridges the gap between entertainment, art and philosophy. And he finally made a western.

This tale of a slave becoming a bounty hunter then playing a slaver in order to free his wife was bound to be controversial, especially with the director’s entertaining use of violence, but the controversy is all part of the fun. Should we feel good for watching this? Should we feel bad for enjoying it? I’m just glad someone is making us question our feelings towards these things by making something that is good, rather than having violence for the sake of it (I’m looking at you, ‘Saw’).

I watched this with my girlfriend who despite disliking the violence, remained glued to the screen. Tarantino at his worst makes films with a nerdy joy and panache, but at his best that feeling infects the viewer too, and makes you never want to stop watching. Even when someone is being ripped apart by dogs, dare I say.

The film is too long and the plot sprawls needlessly to the point where even a layman could successfully trim it down, but that really doesn’t matter when the dialogue is like music to the ears, the set pieces a feast for the eyes. My only real gripe, and the one point I laughed at the film, was Tarantino’s appearance; he really needs to stop acting. That said, he makes a satisfying stage exit.

Although sacking the editor wouldn’t hurt, everything else is on the money. The score sits back when it needs to, then comes to the foreground at the right points. The performances are unique and interesting, matched by the script. DiCaprio is having so much fun it lights up the frame, as is Waltz. It’s a joy to behold.

A cinematic delight.