Django Unchained

So Tarantino is back with ‘Django Unchained’ his skewered take on the spaghetti western and whether you like it or not will depend on which side of his career fence you sit on. I think we can sum it up as pre and post ‘Jackie Brown’ because at one time QT used to make intelligent movies that contained violence and homages to other films that were so well written and directed that all the weird little things like misogyny and language were forgiven. Sadly post ‘Jackie Brown’ QT seems to have gone down the route of Roger Corman mixed with South Park. His scripts and films have become nothing more than a parody of his own earlier work and the B Movies he strived to recreate for another generation. Watching Django feels like showing film students his first few films and asking them to make a film ‘in the style of’; it is loaded with clichés, unnecessary violence and full on shock value language. It seems that QT is happy to be a director, in the same way actors sometimes do, who will let himself be typecast under the weight of his previous work. Casting himself as an Australian rustler is just one of the many missteps in this overlong tale of a slave on the path to revenge. Another is Jamie Foxx who brings so little to role of Django it makes you wonder why he even bothered. Again like earlier work QT plunges the depths of obscure recordings to find his soundtrack but unlike ‘Pulp Fiction’ and ‘Reservoir Dogs’ nothing here is destined to be a cult classic thrust back into the limelight by its inclusion, in fact its starting to feel like QT is scraping the bottom of his record collection barrel. That said the cinematography has its moments and Christoph Waltz is as usual mesmerising as the weird German dentist turned bounty hunter. But sadly the few elements that make the film bearable are not enough to overlook the fact this one time great director seems quite at ease now gliding along on past glories and where he once challenged and innovated he now is quite obvious and stilted.

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