The movie starts off with a bang with Dr. Shultz a charming but sadistic German bounty hunter who has come to ‘rescue’ Django a slave from his owners in order for him to assist in tracking down his latest prey. The violence comes fast and furious but as always is bizarrely tempered with humor, and it sets the pace for the story that is about too unfold.
With Django now a free man and acting as the Doctor’s partner he learns to become a sharpshooter for although the ‘Wanted’ posters they use to track down more fugitives say ‘dead or alive’, they never capture any of them still breathing. When their search changes drastically to start to hunt down Django’s wife Broomhilda who was also sold at the slave auction, the balance of power between the white gunslinger and his black sidekick changes dramatically.
This gorgeously enthralling piece of work has all of Tarantino’s wonderful and often manic hallmarks. The comedy is hilarious ….. scenes such as when the budding KKK come to kill Django and the Doctor they get sidetracked into an argument about how their headgear fits, was hysterical. Yet behind all the razor sharp wit and the outrageous sarcasm, he never ever lets you forget the sheer brutal inhumanity that existed in the South at that time.
As well as his commitment to the subject matter, Mr Tarantino also shows a very genuine respect for the whole spaghetti western genre and he borrows from it unstintingly to evoke the same look and feel of the period, right down to the soundtrack.
In addition to the major star players the whole cast is littered with big name actors and TV stars some of whom like Don Johnson (a superb ‘Big Daddy’) are easy to spot, but its quite a revelation when the end credits role and you realize how many famous faces playing cameos that you have missed. In my case it included Franco Nero who played Django in the original film back in 1966 that inspired this completely new movie
As usual Mr Tarantino cast himself, this time as Mining Company Employee who was escorting Django and some slave/prisoners. For some odd reason which totally threw me, he played the part using an Australian accent!
I love the fact that Mr T. must inspire a real bond with the people he works with ….. this was the fifth movie that Samuel L. Jackson (brilliantly cast as the creepy Simon) had acted in. For Christoph Waltz this was his 2nd Tarantino role … he won an Oscar for his first as the Nazi Col Landa in ‘Inglorious Bastards’, and he could pick up an Nomination for his scene stealing performance as Dr Shultz. But he could also be up against his co-stars Jamie Fox eerily perfect as Django, and Leonard DiCaprio revelling in being the bitingly caustic Candi (who oddly never married … was there a message in that?)
All in all a stunning movie that has so many facets and levels it is clearly the work of a genius. Or a madman. Or both!
P.S. I am (very) slowly getting used to the sheer scale of the violence, mainly because the visual effects he uses to exaggerate the bloodiness are so over the top, that they are almost ‘camp’. But I’ve just avoided giving it my highest rating because of the 3 hour time, which frankly is more than a tad indulgent.
Available at Amazon