Django Unchained [2012]

4 stars

Django Unchained fan posterDirected by: Quentin Tarantino
Written by: Quentin Tarantino
Starring: Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kerry Washington, Samuel L. Jackson, Jonah Hill, Walton Goggins, Don Johnson, Franco Nero

Ruthlessly violent, fiercely dramatic and darkly comedic, Django Unchained is the quintessential Tarantino tale of revenge. While not at the level of his best work (Kill Bill, Pulp Fiction), and battling pace and length issues, Django is still one of the finest cinematic achievements of the past year.

The dialog is a bit weaker than what we’re used to getting from the filmmaker, but that sort of works in the film’s favor. This time, the visuals, the clothes and the actors are able to shine without being overshadowed by Quentin’s undeniable knack for writing great conversations about meaningless topics.

The deservedly Oscar-nominated work behind the lens by Robert Richardson and the sadly snubbed textile creations of Sharen Davis, along with the director’s eclectic and, as always, fantastic compilation of tunes, are all of the highest quality.

Which brings me to the cast: a wonderful array of talent. Christoph Waltz, Samuel L. Jackson, Jamie Foxx and Kerry Washington give memorable performances but it’s Leonardo DiCaprio, so used to being the hero, who plays a nasty villain and knocks it out of the park. His work in Django, overlooked by many award-dispensing groups (including the Oscars; seriously, what the hell?) is a definite highlight of 2012. Bloody fun.