Django Unchained Review
The FilmAs we've had drilled into our cinema going consciousness recently, the American Civil War was entirely about correcting the great crime that was slavery. This was a time where good decent white people overcame bad white people in order to right the wrongs visited upon the principal people who built America's wealth, along of course with the Chinese and the Irish, and the Germans, oh and the Polish...and well you get the idea. In no way was the American Civil war a battle between one bunch of powerful white folk and another, both using blacks and other groups in a subservient way. No, Lincoln was a God, and white Southerners are terrible, terrible people.We are duty bound to thank Steven Spielberg for pointing most of this out, but his chosen medium was the glorious bio-pic genre beloved of the Hollywood dream factory for celebrating the heterosexuality of Cole Porter and the single handed war winning heroics of America in any conflagration. While we can really trust the production values and honest ACTING of Lincoln, some might claim that Quentin Tarantino has gone a step too far dramatizing the plight of black slaves under the bad white people by choosing to do this as an exploitation western. Well, obviously those people are just misguided.
Through Django Unchained, the great film essayist of our time paints a picture of how good white people and good black people can overcome bad white people and bad black people, all by just using dynamite and guns. Without Quentin Tarantino's foresight and critical eye, many of us may still believe that the Ku Klux Klan helped build the great nation of America instead of being badly attired buffoons worthy of an explosive punch line.The, in no way overlong, overblown or excessive, action begins with a trail of black slaves being liberated by kind and good white bounty hunter Doc Schultz who unfortunately must keep one of their number in servitude to himself to collect a bounty. Soon the unusually named Django has become a junior partner in helping our kindly German hunt down and murder bad white people and he is entranced with the elegant telling of the story of Siegfried and Broomhilda, because his long lost good black slave wife is also called Broomhilda.
Our two amigos, by now a symbol of what racial harmony can achieve, make a pact to find Broomhilda if only the good Django and the good Doc Schultz kill a few more bad white people for money. They learn that good black Broomhilde is enslaved to a Calvin Candie, a rich bad white southerner, and they hatch a, in no way over-elaborate, plan to get her back. In the last 105 minutes of the film the action flies by as this plan speeds along with lots of the evils of slavery explained to the audience through bad Candie's terrible raping, castrating and murdering ways.
Crucially, Quentin Tarantino shows us that black people can sometimes be bad too and that bad white men who look like him and may come from Australia, South Africa or Germany are a bit fat and stupid when compared to clever good Django. In the end, the old order of bad white slave-owners is overturned by well-dressed clever and good black people who knee-cap and castrate in a just cause and use holy dynamite to make their point.Without this valuable and concise social document, I don't believe that good black people could have become so influential in America now. In fact, without knowing that explosives and guns can be used for a just cause like Django does, it’s hard to see how Barack Obama could be the commander in chief killing bad Afghans and probably not good if slightly innocent Pakistanis with our remote control drones.
The DiscPresented on an all-region BD50, the disc comes with a free digital download copy redeemed by using the voucher included. The long running time of the film results in a hefty 35GB plus transfer with three featurettes and two adverts the special features included on the disc. The disc box comes with a cardboard dust-sleeve replicating the cover art beneath. This release contains German, Turkish and Hindi language options in addition to the English ones - well done to Sony for having an audio descriptive track.
My sarcasm apart, Django Unchained is a magnificently shot, dressed and composed film with the usual excellent musical choices for a QT picture. This hi-def treatment will undoubtedly please those wanting to bask in those unarguably positive aspects of the film and provides all of its extras in 1080P as well. These include featurettes on costumes, horse training and production design with an advert for the Tarantino BD collection and the soundtrack for this movie. Thankfully, bar one appearance in a bad hat, QT keeps his appearances down to the usual unseemly praise from others.
As I said the transfer is pretty fine, allowing the sumptuous rich images to live in magnificent detail and with little evidence of technical jiggery-pokery like edge enhancement or filtering. Black levels are nigh perfect, colour balance is sublime and the widescreen compositions come to life beautifully.The master audio 5.1 mix is also a thing of beauty whether capturing the atmospherics of a night-time battle in the woods or the claustrophobic battles of Mandingo wrestling, depth of sound and placement of effects is very well done alongside the clear, clear reproduction.
SummaryIt's too long by nearly an hour, it's too gimmicky and features the worst acting of QT's far from illustrious career. Don't buy the right-on politics its director has claimed as the original cinematic inspirations for this film were far more sincere and possessed a proper worldview whilst this is empty headed to say the least. Still as empty headed overlong apolitical nonsense goes, it's well made with a lovely transfer and sound on this release.
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