'Django Unchained' Scores Big with Critics

Quentin Tarantino's latest film, set before the Civil War commences, offers "a bloody good time," critics say. Have you seen it?

"Django Unchained" contains the snappy dialogue, laconic humor, choreographed violence and the first rate acting we've come to expect from Quentin Tarantino. The movie, released on Christmas Day, tells the story of a bounty hunter named King Schultz (Christoph Waltz) and the soon-to-be-freed slave turned bounty hunter Django (Jamie Foxx), who travel the South, meeting the local color as they team up to haul in or eliminate bad guys and to find Django's wife Broomhilda (Kerry Washington). If there were one theme for this movie, it would be revenge, writ large.

It's gotten a 97 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Here's what the critics are saying:

“Django Unchained” is Quentin Tarantino’s greatest exploration of the human condition, from its idea of what is right to its heinous moments of evil. Continuing with the theme of revenge explored in "Inglorious Basterds," Tarantino blends the Spaghetti western genre with 70s Blaxploitation, creating an insane concoction of vengeance and thoughtfulness, tossing between the disgustingly funny and the most primal notion of violence. “Django” is a shocking and bold film with a huge heart and soul. Justin Craig, Fox News

The trail Django and Schultz follow -- at one point juxtaposed against the hilarious accompaniment of Jim Croce's "I've Got a Name" -- leads to gory, choreographed shootouts, an encounter with a slick but dangerous plantation owner (Don Johnson, delivering one of his most successful performances), right up to the main prize: the Candyland plantation, run by evil dandy Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio) -- a sicko who, for sport, holds bloody "Mandingo" fights in his swanky parlor.

Playing against those boyish good looks, DiCaprio makes Calvin a charismatic monster; it's a pleasure to see him branch out from low-hanging-fruit roles of leading men. Here, he demonstrates just how well he can pull off portraying a loathsome cur. However, the scene-stealer is Tarantino go-to guy Samuel L. Jackson as Candie's right-hand man, Stephen, a slave who's adverse to any change in the master-slave dynamic. With his stooped posture, baffled expression and weirdly righteous outrage, Jackson makes Stephen the film's most fascinating character. Randy Myers, Contra Costa Times

The story is familiar, like a Gothic German fairy tale about a noble prince who sets out to rescue his beloved princess from the clutches of a despicable monster. Here, though, the prince is an ex-slave-turned bounty hunter (Jamie Foxx), the princess is his wife Broomhilda (Kerry Washington) and the monster is a playboy owner of a joint plantation and brothel, who goes by the name of Calvin Candie (Leo DiCaprio, who is clearly having a blast playing a slimy villain who smokes like a chimney).

Tarantino has populated this particular universe with his customary assortment of outrageous characters, such as Django’s oddball German partner (Basterds‘ Christoph Waltz), a Colonel Sanders lookalike (Don Johnson), and an elder house slave who is the real brains behind Candie’s operations (Samuel L. Jackson). It’s a twisted yet funny fairy tale about a dark period in American history, as only Tarantino would think (or dare) to tell. Sandy Schaefer Screen Rant

"Django Unchained" runs 165 minutes. It's rated R for extreme violence and offensive language, including racial epithets. This film is showing now at Big Cinemas Peachtree Theatre in Norcross.



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