The big show. The one we’ve been waiting for. Quentin Tarantino makes a Western. Fuck. Yes.
I finally saw this with my niece yesterday and was blown away. I’ve been a Tarantino fan since I saw Pulp Fiction almost ten years ago (I was six when it came out, so give me a break). In fact, I liked it so much, Pulp Fiction is the first screenplay I ever read.
I immediately rushed out to see Reservoir Dogs, Jackie Brown, and I saw Kill Bill One and Two in theaters when they came out. They were all brilliant. I learned about his love for spaghetti Westerns, his fondness for Elmore Leonard books, and his tendency to use actors and little “trademarks” in his films (e.g. Samuel L. Jackson, Uma Thurman, Christoph Waltz, Red Apple cigarettes, etc).
This movie was unlike anything I could have imagined seeing the previews. Christoph Waltz is fucking brilliant. He’s eloquent, funny, and intelligent, and he has just the right amount of German in his accent. Jamie Foxx as Django is in the role of his life. Better than Ray (Charles). Django is his Jules (Samuel L. in Pulp Fiction–PS: you should be ashamed if you don’t know that). Kerry Washington is painfully beautiful. And, last but not least, Leonardo DiCaprio is the incredible man we all know him to be.
Waltz plays Dr. Schultz, a dentist turned bounty hunter, who purchases Django, a slave, to help him recover a bounty on the Brittle Brothers. Schultz realizes that Django is quite talented as a bounty hunter and offers him his freedom if he’ll stick with him through the winter collecting bounties, then they will go find Django’s wife Broomhilda (Kerry Washington).
Hilde is owned by Monsieur Calvin Candie of the giant cotton plantation, Candieland. And Candie is one bad dude. The last time I remember Leo as a real “bad guy” was as King Louis XIV in The Man in the Iron Mask.
He’s done some roles where he’s not exactly a good guy, Frank in Revolutionary Road, J. Edgar Hoover was no saint, even Howard Hughes and Billy in The Departed were not completely the heroes, even if they were the protagonists. But he is a bad man in this movie. No respect or regard for human life. No qualms about violence, vulgarity, or any of the uglier things in life.
He’s no Butcher (Gangs of New York), he’s no Hannibal Lector, he’s not even the Terminator as far as movie villains go, but he is one evil man. And yet, as much as we’ve all come to adore Leo, he plays the villain brilliantly. He’s fierce, maniacal, calculating, and cruel.
Aside from the acting, the script, the dialogue, the flow of the story, and the cinematography itself is breathtaking. It views like a true Western and it’s beautifully shot.
I think this one might be Tarantino’s masterpiece. It wraps up in true QT style, a bloodbath and the hero riding off into the sunset, but I think it might be the winner of the lot.
A few, but I don’t think they detract from the movie as a whole. For me, a QT fan through and through, I thought he went a little too far with the blowout bloodbath at the end. It ran just a little too long, and got a little too bloody than was necessary. A second miss was him casting himself into a minor role at the end as an Aussie miner. He looks the part enough, but his Oz is a little off and rang false to me.
Finally, I know he likes to bring closure in his movies, and this was no exception, but the very last scene, the riding off into the sunset scene, also went a bit too far. Django is the hero of the movie. A hero may be vengeful, but he should never derive so much pleasure from his deeds, however necessary he deems them to be. Even Beatrix Kiddo waited until she got back to the motel with her daughter to celebrate her victory.
Aside from those minor flaws (my opinions of which may have been influenced more negatively by some obnoxious moviegoers who were in the theater with me), I think QT is going to get it right this year at the awards ceremonies. Cinematography alone should be a shoe-in in my mind. In any case, it’s a film well worth seeing, whether you love or hate the man behind it.
PS: I realize there’s some additional swearing, but it’s a Tarantino post and I’m watching Entourage, so I think it’s semi-appropriate.
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