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Reviews Comments: Worth it for the style alone—which is good, because there's not much substance. Django Unchained film/book review by Wackd

Let me just start by saying that if you're a big action movie fan, this film will please you. The action scenes are engaging and shot well, the blood is gratuitous but stylized enough not to be distracting, and the vast majority of the one-liners and clips land well and should elicit a chuckle even at their worst.

And if you're a big Western fan, you'll be pretty pleased too. The movie's to big love letter to the genre and is often stylistically similar to the days of yore—in terms of look and sound (save for the occasional rap song in the BMG), Django Unchained may as well be a re-release from the fifties or sixties.

The movie is relentlessly entertaining, there's no denying it.

But is it any good?

From a plot perspective, the film feels patchy in its first act, with events happening linearly enough but no sense of an overarching plot. Things pull together once Django and Schultz find out where Django's wife is being held, but fall apart again once Schultz decides to firmly grasp the Idiot Ball and respark conflict seemingly only because Tarantino realized that if he didn't we end up with a really short movie. As a result, the third act has the distinct feeling that we're retracing our steps, and while we do get an amusing action set piece out of it the entire ending is undercut by the nagging feeling that there's no point to it.

As for the characters, only Django and Schultz seem to have much depth, and to Tarantino's credit their growth and how it happens comes in small, subtle doses. But the baddies are all generically Affably Evil, save for Samuel L. Jackson's character, who is pretty much generically evil period. And Django's wife barely has enough characterization to be a mere Damsel In Distress—she's more a Mac Guffin than anything.

So, yeah. It's, by most counts, a pretty shallow movie. Damn is it entertaining, though. I'd say it's worth at least one watch on the big screen if you just wanna pack away the popcorn for a couple of hours.


  • darkclaw
  • 14th Jan 13
I like the review, but I wouldn't say the movie is shallow. I felt more like the lessons were subtle, such as not stating "racism is bad", but implying it by showing many racists to be idiots. I also disagree about Schultz grabbing the Idiot Ball, his emotions did get the better of him but at least he killed Candie. Also, if Django, Schultz and Broomhilda had just left normally and went off to get their happy ending, they would've been killed by being taken by surprise, since Candie had snipers hidden in the foyers of the main hallway and had a gang with guns outside the front door.
  • Wackd
  • 14th Jan 13

  • Wackd
  • 14th Jan 13

See, the thing to know about my moviegoing philosophy is that if I don't care about the movie on a surface level, how well it can be read into doesn't matter to me. I liked the action and ambiance, so I got into the characters and plot. I couldn't get into the characters and plot, so whatever was lying below the surface of that is meaningless to me.

So yes, this movie has Socially Redeeming Value™, but that doesn't really change my opinion of it. (Also, implying racism is bad by making racists idiots mean, it's kind of a given, isn't it? It's really only a hair short of banging us over the head with it.)

As for the gangs and snipers, I had assumed they were only called into action after someone overheard the gunplay and went to get them. I would've just had Schulz and Django take off with Broomhilda and then come back to paint the ranch red. It wouldn't really have changed a whole lot.
  • Pitseleh
  • 22nd Jan 13
Great review, thank you for being critical of a film when not many are. I felt similarly when leaving the theatre and I couldn't put my finger on why; you summed it up perfectly.
  • maninahat
  • 13th Feb 13
@Wackd; the whole point is that they are in way over their heads. If they could have just waltzed in and massacred the lot of them, they would have got pasted (which half happens), which is why they were trying a subtle approach in the first place.
  • Wackd
  • 13th Feb 13
Yes, but once the whole thing went to shit anyway...

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