I always try to see all of the Academy Award nominated films before the ceremony, but I have put off Quentin Tarrantino’s Django because of the much publicized violence in the movie. Then I thought again; c’mon, this is a Quentin Tarantino movie: Violence is supposed to take place. With that in mind I headed down to my local theater and got ready for the blood bath.
Django (pronounced, Jango) is Tarrantino’s version of a spaghetti western which takes place in Civil War era antebellum South. During the year 1858 a group of chained slaves are being marched through a field somewhere in Texas, when a man on a carriage who claims to be a dentist, stops the party to ask some questions. Dr. Shultz (Christopher Waltz from Inglorious Bastards), is searching for a slave by the name of Django (Jamie Fox), who can identify three brothers that the well-mannered doctor would like to talk to. Actually, Dr. Shultz is a dentist turned bounty hunter who needs three corpses in order to collect his bounty and when the slave transporters do not accept an offer by him to buy Django, the bloodshed begins.
Dr. Shultz, who now has a freed slave on his hands, offers Django a partnership in his bounty business and Django accepts with the provision that they eventually track down his wife who is being held on a plantation in Mississippi. The odd couple mount up and track down the three wanted brothers who are working on a plantation owned by a slave holder (Don Johnson), who is terribly disappointed when his hired hands end up dead. A hilarious scene follows in which the slave holder rounds up a group of men who don ill-fitted Klan bags on their heads, in an attempt to hunt down Shultz and Django.
The rest of the film revolves around the search for Django’s wife Broomhilda (Kerry Washington), who is being held on a plantation called Candy Land and which is appropriately owned by an aristocrat named Calvin Candie (Leonard DiCaprio). The DiCaprio character is a curious blend of southern hospitality and rabid viciousness, and his house slave Stephen (Samuel Jackson), is flat out hysterical during the finale.
Django has a good plot, great characters, and some dead on spaghetti western music (I kept waiting for Clint Eastwood to make a cameo). With the exception of the final ten minutes, the film is no more violent than some other movies I have recently seen (Gangster Squad and Seven Psychpaths); and which by comparison, are out right stupid. The movie deserves the Oscar nomination.
My Rating: 4 of 5 Spaghetti Westerns.