Django Unchained has been screening for critics and awards groups for the last two weeks – I saw it last night, and you can read my review here – and with embargoes dropping left, right and center, word has been getting out that, yes, Django is another success for Quentin Tarantino, even if opinions differ over where it stands in the director’s oeuvre. Personally, I feel it places among the weaker end, miles ahead of Death Proof but behind everything else, whereas some claim it to be his best work since Pulp Fiction. What’s clear is that the film is a lovingly assembled homage to two genres, brought together in one insanely violent, hilarious, superbly acted package, and for those reasons, among others, Django Unchained is pretty damn awesome even if for me it doesn’t reach the classic heights of his best film, Pulp Fiction.
Here’s our rundown of the 10 reasons that Tarantino’s latest is going to blow audiences away.
10. Smart Direction
Melding together the blaxploitation film with the spaghetti western, Quentin Tarantino clearly knows what he is doing as far as direction goes; this is precisely the sort of film that delivers exactly what people will expect and also what people will want. It’s a ludicrously violent homage-hybrid, mixing two not particularly dissimilar genres into a new whole, methodically paced for sure but also exceptionally stylish, with its beautiful cinematography helping the director to have his cake and eat it too; it has all the silly fast-zooms and grainy flashbacks, but it’s also got some moments of true visual wonder, usually when someone is riding on horseback.
Tarantino is a film director and above all else a film nerd; there is not a touch of conceit or pretentiousness to the means through which he presents this film to us. Even the self-indulgence is toned down considerably, with no exclusionary film references included; rather, this is a relatively straight-forward – if still witty – love letter to the genres that QT no doubt grew up watching and continues to revere. It is the labour of a man making what he loves, and for all of the film’s flaws, that shines through crystal clear.
This article was first posted on December 18, 2012