Lowdown: On the brink of the American Civil War, a slave freed by a German bounty hunter takes his vengeance.
Having rewritten World War 2 + The Holocaust’s history in Inglorious Bastards, Quentin Tarantino sets out to right the next historical wrong on his list: that of America’s history of slavery. Curiously, he uses a German agent to achieve that goal.
Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz) is a German expat making his money bounty hunting across the USA. His ventures put black slave Django (Jamie Foxx) in his path: Schultz needs Django's help to identify his next bounty kill. But Schultz, being the bloody-progressive-UnAmerican-European that he is, cannot stand slavery. Thus when he recruits Django, he makes a free man out of him despite what the white populace around the two thinks.
Django proves himself more than just a source of intelligence; he is a worthy bounty hunter by his own rights, even if he’s a bit too trigger happy when it comes to eliminating white bounty. Schultz and Django become friends, and together they set out on Django’s ultimate mission: freeing up his wife, a slave at your stereotypical Southern plantation run by the evil (by today's standards and even then's) Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio).
All the regular call signs of a Tarantino movie are on display at Django Unchained. There’s plenty of violence, plenty of blood, clearly artificially inflated violence and blood, lengthy dialog, Tarantino class black humour, the works. Throw in a wonderful performance by Waltz, a true world class of an actor, and the result is good throughout. Despite the two and a half hour long experience, there is never a boring moment; if anything, I would say Tarantino cut down on his trademark overlong dialog to produce much more sensible levels.
I actually learnt a thing or two from Django Unchained, such as the fact that French author Alexander Dumas was black. If I could hazard a guess while pointing that Django's salvation comes with an atypical German face, I'd say Tarantino is not necessarily trying to make a statement on black/white relationships here. It’s more about telling America off for not lifting its head up today in order to learn a thing or two from Europe on the virtues of being nice to one’s fellow human beings.
Best scene: A KKK gang is struggling to run its operations while wearing sacks over their heads. Hilarious!
Overall: Between Inglorious Bastards and Django Unchained, it definitely feels as if Tarantino has matured to the point of providing quality without the excess varnish he was infatuated with in his earlier films. 4 out of 5 crabs for Django.