Commentary
5:00 am
Thu January 3, 2013

Movie Review: Django Unchained

The biggest problem with Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained is that it is made up largely of two pretty ordinary short bits and then a main story that is interesting but stretches the movie out to two-and-a-half hours plus.

The best things in it are a really entertaining performance by Christoph Waltz of Inglourious Basterds fame and, if you have a taste for it, as so many have, a great deal of gunfire with unrealistically splashy blood flying about.

The story is the same old revenge stuff, but the setting is the old slave South. And there is, eventually, a pretty complete presentation of the levels of humanity on Leonardo DiCaprio's plantation, with the field workers-- black and white-- at the bottom, and the house people-- black and white-- including Samuel L. Jackson, who is almost unrecognizable as the black butler at the top of the black world, and DiCaprio and his wife at the top of the white. And, a lot of politically incorrect vocabulary, reminding us of the racial situation.

Among the whites, only Christoph Waltz is consistently sympathetic, and he's not an American, but a German. Writer-director Tarantino is not a lover of the Old South and Django Unchained is no Gone With the Wind. It's too unrealistic to make much of a social point, with both Waltz and Southern slave Jamie Foxx handling six-guns like Saturday-matinee cowboys. But it is interesting to see how easily Waltz can get Foxx into white company by claiming him as an assistant bounty hunter, and Leonardo DiCaprio has a whee of a time playing an oily villain.

Django Unchained is not really very good, but unless you are sensitive about violence and vocabulary, it should keep you entertained.