Django Unchained is classic Tarantino.
Quentin Tarantino is the master of cinematic homage. With his latest flick Django Unchained starring Jamie Foxx in the title role alongside a stellar line-up including Inglourious Basterds’ Christoph Waltz, the charismatic director reimagines the classic spaghetti western with his flair for pastiche and lots of arterial blood.
While Sergio Corbucci’s 1966 original Django was one of the most violent films made at the time of its release, Tarantino, with his penchant for bloody violence, has actually made a fitting nod to the classic Italian western.
The film revolves around Django, a slave with a brutal history, who is acquired by a German bounty hunter, Dr King Schultz (Waltz), to help him track down and kill the murderous Brittle brothers. Making for a good team, Dr Schultz offers Django a lifeline: to help him kill some of the American South’s most wanted criminals in exchange for helping Django find his wife, Broomhilda (Kerry Washington), who was sold via the slave trade to plantation owner and aristocrat Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio). Candie is the proprietor of Candyland, an infamous plantation where slaves are made to battle each other.
Set in America’s Deep South in 1858, on the cusp of the Civil War, Tarantino has made one of the most provocative portrayals of the country’s unsavoury past. It comes as no surprise then that many in the US have been up in arms over the director depicting such a controversial part of history, but Tarantino, surprisingly, does it with aplomb.
While you could be forgiven for thinking that Django Unchained was just another one of Tarantino’s bloody nods to filmmaking history, scratch under the surface and you find an uncomfortable and thought-provoking depiction of how slaves were treated pre-Civil War than most other Hollywood flicks that explore the territory.
The film may have been a homage to Italian westerns and an exploration of America’s brutal past, but there is also an Aussie flavour to Django Unchained. Tarantino himself stars in a cameo role alongside Australia’s John Jarratt, who famously put off anyone thinking of driving around the country with his sadistic turn in Wolf Creek (2005), as Australian slave traders. Tarantino’s attempt at the Aussie accent is cringe-worthy, which is made more dubious next to Jarratt who swears with the definitive swagger of Australia’s harsh outback.
For those who loved Tarantino’s more recent cinematic outings such as Inglourious Basterds (2009), Django Unchained will not disappoint.
Django Unchained is in cinemas from Thursday 24 January.
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