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REVIEW: 'Django Unchained'

REVIEW: 'Django Unchained'

REVIEW: 'Django Unchained', Flicks.co.nz

4 stars

Quentin Tarantino Western about a freed slave who becomes a brutal gun-for-hire, determined to rescue his wife from a merciless plantation owner. Stars Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz and Leonardo DiCaprio. In cinemas January 24th.

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Managing to be both a darkly hilarious, rollickingly entertaining ride of a movie and also nearly three hours long, with scene after scene of densely crammed, unmistakeably excessive Quentin Tarantino dialogue, Django Unchained is his most exciting, accessible and satisfying film for ages. While there may be a bit more of a comic feel than Inglourious Basterds and a tale that hinges on an unlikely buddy bounty hunter pairing rather than Basterds’ ensemble, this is another Tarantino tale that sees him mete out punishment on historical evil through his characters.

Rather than taking on Nazis, Django (Jamie Foxx) uses a chance encounter to wreak vengeance on the brutal oppressors of American slavery here. And boy do they deserve it, with Tarantino pulling no punches in depicting slavery as bitterly violent and revoltingly dehumanising, with some rather harrowing scenes of abuse giving his hero an inarguable justification for a killing spree that’ll have you cheering him on.

Foxx does a great line in quiet Western hero, driven by emotions that when not internalised are more often revealed in action rather than words. And as in Basterds, Christoph Waltz revels in the opportunities Tarantino’s script provides him in a gleeful performance as Django’s mentor, German bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz. The film’s other odd couple, plantation owner Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his house slave Stephen (Samuel L. Jackson), also prove memorably entertaining in their roles, the cast as a whole matching Tarantino’s own creative enthusiasm - a combination that makes this a must-see.

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