I've been a Quentin Tarantino fan for quite a few years now, and I'm also a huge fan of the Sergio Leone Spaghetti Westerns. So when I heard the Tarantino was doing a western I was really looking forward to it, more so than any other Tarantino film.
This film sees the character Django (Jamie Foxx) freed by former Dentist turned Bounty Hunter Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz) on the condition that he helps him find a particular bounty. He then makes a new deal where he will help him find his wife, Brunhilde von Shaft (Kerry Washington) if he agrees to become his bounty hunting partner over the winter.
This was a fantastic film, and one of the best Tarantino has done yet. I still personally prefer Pulp Fiction, and Kill Bill Vol. 1, but this film is as good, if not better than any other film Tarantino has made. This film couldn't have pleased me anymore than it did as it was the perfect blend of a Spaghetti Western film with Tarantino's own unique blend of comedy, and violence. What I love about Tarantino's films are that you get something that's unique, and although it doesn't always work out 100%, he always puts effort in, and produces a very entertaining film. Quentin Tarantino like he's done in the past with his previous films also has a cameo appearance in this film playing an employee of the The LeQuint Dickey Mining Co. This has to be my favorite cameo from him, as it was hilarious. I won't say much more about it as it comes quite late in the film, and I want to avoid spoilers, but it was a very funny sequence.
I will however warn that this film isn't for the faint of heart, as it is very bloody, and violent, and has some sequences that might even offend Tarantino fans, as a horse is shot in the head. This personally didn't bother me, as it wouldn't have been a real horse, but there are some people who would maybe feel a bit squeamish, or upset, so I thought I'd warn you.
I'll move on next to another touchy subject, the language used in the film. I read that there was a lot of controversy over the overly repeated use of the word "nigger" (offensive word so blocked as to avoid any offense, highlight to reveal). I totally understand why this may offend people, and due to me not being one of them people I can't really give a fair point on that. What I will say is that I personally took it with a pinch of salt, and understood that it would be accurately right for the time period, even if it was offensive. I would however advice people to take this as a pinch of salt like I did, and try and forget it, as the film is very entertaining. I would also say that if you think you'd be offended by this not to see the film, as there's no point in going to the cinema to get upset.
The casting in this film was perfect. Initially I wasn't too sure what to make of Jamie Foxx playing the lead role, as I've never been a huge fan of him in the past, but he did a tremendous job as Django. Although I say this I wan't overly surprised that he was good as I have quite enjoyed him in films in the past and he played Ray Charles brilliantly in Ray, and also did a good job in Collateral, which co-stared Tom Cruise. I loved that he played a character who's a bit timid at the start, being a slave with nothing to defend himself, and I especially liked that he quickly learned to defend himself, taking every opportunity that he could. I also loved the emotion that he portrayed in the character cause at the end of the day it's the determination to be reunited with the woman he loves that drives him throughout the film.
Leonardo DiCaprio was also another surprisingly good choice of actor for this film. Don't get me wring DiCaprio has done some amazing films over the years, with Inception, and Shutter Island jumping straight to mind, but I never envisioned him in either a western film, or more importantly as Quentin Tarantino film. He did however do a tremendous job as plantation owner "Monsieur" Calvin Candie. The character was right for DiCaprio and after seeing the film I would be surprised if anyone could have done as good a job, and even more so if someone could do a better job. I especially liked how his teeth were dirty, and miss-coloured due to the amount of smoking that he does. Although this is a very minor detail I hate seeing films were they live in poor conditions, or in Candie's case poor health choices that they appear to have perfect teeth, and nails, whereas in reality they'd either have very dirty teeth, or missing teeth. I also loved the enthusiasm that DiCaprio put into the character, as he could turn from a very friendly individual into a very vicious one, and DiCaprio showed that well.
My favorite actor in this film however was Christoph Waltz. Having seen him in other films, including Tarantino's Inglorious Bastards I expected him do do a good job, but he exceeded my expectations and did a truly outstanding job. He was without a shadow of the doubt the best character in the film as Dr. Schultz. He brought a lot of class, and humor to the film, as his character was well educated, but did things that were so unexpected, that they were hilarious. I also thought that the character was the perfect companion to Django, as he took him under his wing teaching him how to become a brilliant bounty hunter, then he plotted an elaborate plan to help Django reunite with his wife. Waltz did a tremendous job in this film, and truly deserves the BAFTA for Best Supporting Actor.
The rest of the supporting cast was also brilliant including Samuel Jackson as Stephen, "Monsieur" Candie's senior house slave. Jackson has been in nearly every Tarantino film since Pulp Fiction, but this is probably his best performance. He is so funny in this film that I found it hard to stop laughing. Kerry Washington also did a fantastic job as Brunhilde, and the chemistry between her and Jamie Foxx was outstanding.
I will now talk more extensively about the violence in this film. Anyone who's watched any of Tarantino's films know that they are full of violence, strong language, and wherever possible humor. This film however had a lot of violence, an baring Kill Bill Vol. 1 probably the most violence, and blood in any of Tarantino's films to date. The violence in this film was that violent that it felt a bit ridiculous, but in a good way. The violence was that shocking, and unexpected that at certain points I was actually laughing at it. There was also a couple of points were Tarantino was also able to add humor to the violence, which was very nice.
This was a truly tremendous film, and one of the best Tarantino has made to date. It is also a brilliant western, and I would recommend it to anyone that's either a fan of westerns, or Quentin Tarantino. I will however give a final warning about the controversial elements of the film, as well as the amount of violence, as some people may be offended.