Django Unchained

Dec 25, 2012

Tarantino is unparalleled for Unchained

Django Unchained
Grade: A
Director: Quentin Tarantino (Pulp Fiction)
Screenplay: Tarantino
Cast: Jamie Foxx (Ray), Christoph Waltz (Inglourious Basterds)
Runtime: 141 min.
by John DeSando

“Django. The D is silent.”  Django (Jamie Foxx), when asked his name.

Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction and Inglourious Basterds are two of my favorite movies in his canon.  Make Django Unchained a third member of that list, for it is a delightful satire of spaghetti westerns and westerns in general with a generous dose of righteous civil rights.

Tarantino’s mock heroic sensibility has never been better, his anachronisms more appropriate, and his overall sense of humor so refined as to make me feel Mel Brooks and Steve Martin had collaborated on his upbringing. At the same time that Tarantino is showing off his comedic shops, he’s also telling an exciting adventure of the titular hero as freed slave, underplayed just right by Jamie Foxx.

Django joins with bounty hunter and verbal gymnast Dr. King Schultz (the not-quite scene munching Christoph Waltz), to kill wanted bad boys until Django and Schultz can free Django’s wife, Broomhilda von Shaft (Kerry Washington), and kill her captors. Her owner, however, is Calvin Candie, a dandy plantation mogul, played with such relish by Leonardo DiCaprio that he may pick up a best supporting Oscar if not for other worthy candidates such as Tommy Lee Jones in Lincoln.

But then there’s another candidate—Samuel L. Jackson as the savvy, sly head of household slaves.  For those who remember his bad-ass roles and especially his turn with John Travolta in Tarantino’s iconic Pulp Fiction, Jackson almost steals the show.

No matter who steals what in this new Tarantino, know that it will be a classic for good reason, chained forever to the works of a great director who takes chances and succeeds in practically every frame.

“How do you like the bounty-hunting business?” (Dr. King Schultz)
“Kill white people and get paid for it? What's not to like?” (

John DeSando co-hosts WCBE 90.5’s It’s Movie Time and Cinema Classics, which can be heard streaming and on-demand at

He also appears on Fox 28’s Man Panel and Idol Chatte.r

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