The title is Django Unchained
. A main character's name is Django. It doesn't take a math whiz to say, "Hey, this movie's about Django!" It doesn't feel like it, though.
The film opens up with Django being bought by an eccentric German dentist named Schultz, who has a knack for talking. A lot. Very loquaciously, too. Django is the exact opposite. Herein lies one of the film's main problems. It's a standard trope of Westerns, most famously The Good The Bad And The Ugly
, that the hero be a soft-spoken mysterious drifter, usually accompanied by a very talkative sidekick. However, the way this film is done, Django feels more like a soft-spoken sidekick than a hero until the final act.
From the get-go, Schultz talks and talks and talks and talks and talks.
Almost non-stop right up to his departure at the end of the second act. Django barely has any scenes away from Schultz and interacting with other characters outside of involvement with Schultz, he's a "natural" gunman but requires a training montage for some reason, and practically the only thing the audience knows about him is that he's rebellious and loves his wife very much.
Speaking of his wife, Broomhilda is almost atrociously underwritten. She barely has any
lines, and spends the majority of her time onscreen crying in agony and being threatened or abused in some horrible way. Kerry Washington is effective in this role, but it begs the question: Why her? What about this character makes Django so hell-bent to rescue her besides marital vows and some inspirational German fairy-tale Schultz told Django?
The final point of criticism is that the film meanders. The best parts are from when Django and Schultz discover who Broomhilda's new owner is to when Django has that bloody fight scene in Candie's mansion. The entire beginning could have been trimmed down, and the entire ending could have been written differently, with less of an anticlimactic feeling to it. Scenes spent developing characters besides Schultz and the two villains - like, I dunno, our hero
- could've been added.
Overall, this was a 5/10 film for me. Not Tarantino's best, but not his worst.
P.S. Yes, to rehash the debate, a certain word was
used way too many times in comparison to how little another word commonly used in 1858 was used in the film, like "Negro".