Django Unchained (Quentin Tarantino, 2012)

As Mr. Tarantino assuredly continues to establish himself as a household name among the movie-going public, the acclaimed writer/director has followed up 2009’s Inglourious Basterds with another wildly entertaining alternate sect of human history, this time honing in on the pre-Civil War era American South. For the uninitiated, Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz) is a bounty hunter on behalf of the US government, of whom takes young Django (Jamie Foxx) under his wing for the purpose of identifying and subsequently eliminating his next few targets. From there, King and Django form a noticeably strong bond with one another as the dough rolls in and they grow nearer to reclaiming the latter’s wife from an eccentric Mississippi plantation owner (Leonardo DiCaprio), painting the countryside with the blood of the morally bankrupt.

Like a vast majority of Tarantino’s previous scripts, Django Unchained starts off particularly strong and rarely lets up as alternating, genre-bending instances of smooth-talking and trademark violence permeate the proceedings. Dialogue between Schultz, Django and their foils is rich, detail-heavy as such and always engrossing as to be expected, bringing with it an air of intelligence and artistic sophistication that’ll undoubtedly quell the general public’s (potentially) unfavorable opinion of the controversial subject matter. This in mind, the topic of slavery is and always will be a touchy one, especially when someone decides to take obvious creative liberties with the horrific truths coinciding with its history.

Even still, Django acknowledges said horrors wonderfully, embracing them in an earnest and effective effort to tell a story rather than insult anything or anyone. The narrative as whole, needless to say, excels at literally every turn as a truly enthralling story is masterfully told in three distinctly different and deliberately paced acts, all of which aren’t without their moments. With period appropriate set pieces that possess as much of a personality as the characters do themselves, Django as a whole becomes a lovingly crafted prime example of contemporary cinema at its finest.

With not a sole weak point to consider, Tarantino’s latest is a beefy labor of love that’s sure to earn more than a few converts of those not previously enamored by the auteur’s body of work. It’s as tasteful and technically proficient as it is outlandish in its telling of the titular Django’s undying desire to reclaim his wife Broomhilda, and the performances coinciding with countless, alternating bits of wit and finely wrought, frequently blood-soaked confrontations are top notch across the board. All things considered, Quentin Tarantino is one of his generation’s great singular cinematic storytellers, able to captivate audiences where hopeful imitators have surely failed via unparalleled artistic sensibilities, allowing Django Unchained to rest among both the individual’s and this year’s finest efforts as he continues to only get better with age and experience.

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