The D is Silent, but the Applause is Not

Tom Verdi

What do you get when you combine comedy, classic spaghetti Western, cringing terror, a heart-wrenching love story, eclectic Southern and German dialogue, and a horrifyingly poignant portrayal of slavery? The answer: Quentin Tarantino’s latest cinematic masterpiece, Django Unchained. Inspired by Sergio Corbucci’s 1966 spaghetti Western (a Western movie made by Italian directors) Django, this latest bloodbath pleases hardcore Tarantino fans and casual viewers alike. The film stars Jamie Foxx as Django, a freed slave who pairs up with an unlikely bounty hunter-dentist named Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz), who grants Django his freedom. Schultz needs Django to point out three men with prices on their heads, and in doing so agrees to help Django find his slavery-bound wife, Broomhilda (Kerry Washington), who is located at “Francophile” Monsieur Calvin Candie’s (Leonardo DiCaprio) plantation, “Candyland,” run by head house slave Stephen (Samuel L. Jackson). Ironically, Candie doesn’t speak French.

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Tarantino literally brings out the big guns with this one. As in all his films, the heavy, prolonged dialogue packed with deeper innuendos is supplemented with intense, blood-filled action sequences. But, unlike most of his previous films, Tarantino adds a strong emotional storyline, interspersing haunting images of Django’s wife between the action. The audience can really feel the torment going on inside Django’s head. This added dimension makes the film completely stand on its own compared to his previous work, and may be his best yet.

Foxx portrays Django as a soft-spoken but intense man, whose presence immediately fills the screen. As the film progresses, Django’s confidence increases, building to a shocking bloody climax.  The climax is reminiscent of classic Westerns— but with Tarantino’s added tongue-in-cheek flair. If the audience laughs during an intense gunfight, be assured it’s a Tarantino movie.

While the film covers all the bases, it “most definitely” (only the really devout fans will get this reference) isn’t for everyone. Slavery isn’t just nodded at like it usually is; the audience is presented with it first hand, and some scenes admittedly are difficult to watch. If you think you might be remotely queasy, steer clear of this film. But if you think you can stomach it, get out of that seat and go see the movie of the year.