Waltz dances to tune in Tarantino’s unchained Western

Christoph Waltz and Jamie Foxx are partners in bounty in Django Unchained.
Christoph Waltz and Jamie Foxx are partners in bounty in Django Unchained.

Django Unchained (MA 15+)

QUENTIN Tarantino can't help but get his hands dirty, and throughout his career the thought that a little blood can't hurt anyone has largely worked in his favour.

As the years go on his filmmaking has outlandishly caught critics and fans off guard but managed to remain somewhat mindful.

Tarantino's not one to lay it all out for his audience as keeping viewers guessing is, for most directors, their ultimate goal.

Spaghetti Westerns of the 1960s are a huge influence of many filmmakers for their style, choosing to focus more on one character than the story at hand.

Although Tarantino calls this offering a 'Southern' for its setting, it is unmistakeably a tribute to those films of old.

In 1858 Texas, Django (Jamie Foxx) is travelling with his new owners and fellow slaves when dentist-turned-bounty hunter Dr King Schultz (Christoph Waltz) finds and buys him as part of a mission to slay the wanted Brittle brothers.

It's pretty obvious you're going to go with this kooky guy anyway if he's offering you the chance to help him kill those who separated you and your wife Broomhilda (Kerry Washington).

Django and Schultz become a tag team offing the bad guys, as Schultz offers Django his freedom and assists him in the search for Broomhilda.

Tarantino uses the first half to squarely focus on the duo, establishing a growing friendship as Schultz, a German who does not understand the need for slavery, teaches Django about life and takes him under his wing.

It's a mentor-mentee relationship which turns into more of a brotherhood than is really let on.

The latter half takes a different turn as Django and Schultz get closer to finding Broomhilda.

Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio) and butler Stephen (Samuel L Jackson) stand in their way as it becomes a case of business and smooth talking for the duo to get what they want.

Christoph Waltz is excellent as the schmoozer from afar, Tarantino getting the best out of him once again after his Oscar-winning turn in Inglourious Basterds.

Schultz oozes confidence when getting out of sticky situations, an impressive free man in a world of slaves, and Waltz is effortless in his portrayal as a friend and mentor.

It should come as no surprise that Tarantino is so accommodating of the man.

Not so accommodating for some will be the language.

Tarantino refused to let down on his use of the n-word and true to the violent nature of the film, it sticks around unrelentingly.

But in a setting two years before the Civil War, you can't question its accuracy.

Tarantino succeeds stylistically as with his previous films, with flashbacks representing the low-budget quality of the films of his inspiration and engrossing montages to a varied soundtrack.

The ending is the letdown if any, which seems to peter out into something Australians in particular will render bizarre.

With Tarantino though, it would be a crime to not expect the unexpected.

Rating: 4/5

Now screening at Reading Cinemas


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