Prayer Focus
Click here to watch THE HOPE on-line!
Oscar®Oscar® Winner for Best Writing—Original Screenplay, and Best Actor in a Supporting Role—Christoph Waltz
NOMINEE FOR: Best Picture, Best Cinematography, Best Sound Editing

Movie Review

Django Unchained

MPAA Rating: R for strong graphic violence throughout, a vicious fight, language and some nudity.

Reviewed by: Daniel Thompson
CONTRIBUTOR

Extremely Offensive
Add to your list?
View your list
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults
Genre:
Western Drama
Length:
2 hr. 50 min.
Year of Release:
2012
USA Release:
December 25, 2012 (wide)
DVD: April 16, 2013
Copyright, The Weinstein Company click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, The Weinstein Company Copyright, The Weinstein Company Copyright, The Weinstein Company Copyright, The Weinstein Company Copyright, The Weinstein Company Copyright, The Weinstein Company Copyright, The Weinstein Company
Relevant Issues
Copyright, The Weinstein Company

slaves / slavery in the Bible

Does the Bible condone slavery? Answer

Copyright, The Weinstein Company

FOUNDING FATHERS AND SLAVERY—Were all of America’s Founding Fathers racists, pro-slavery, and hypocrites? Answer

life on pre-Civil War U.S. Southern plantation

rescuing wife from danger

bounty hunting / bounty hunter

Copyright, The Weinstein Company

FILM VIOLENCE—How does viewing violence in movies affect families? Answer

Featuring: Jamie FoxxDjango
Leonardo DiCaprioCalvin Candie
Samuel L. JacksonStephen
Jonah Hill
Christoph WaltzDr. King Schultz
Kerry WashingtonBroomhilda von Shaft
Zoe BellTracker Peg
Bruce DernCurtis Carrucan
Amber Tamblyn … Daughter of a Son of a Gunfighter
James Remar … Ace Speck
Don Johnson … Spencer Gordon ’Big Daddy’ Bennet
Walton Goggins … Billy Crash
Robert Carradine … Tracker Lex
more »
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Producer: The Weinstein Company
Columbia Pictures
more »
Distributor: The Weinstein Company

“Life, liberty and the pursuit of vengeance.”

As a young boy, I was told a story of a child who reaches his hand in a cookie jar, grabs a handful of cookies, and proceeds to get his hand stuck because of the large amount of cookies he is trying to extract. Instead of placing some of the cookies down, he continues to struggle with his plight because he is unable to let go of any of his goodies. The same can be said of Quentin Tarantino (“Pulp Fiction”, “Inglorious Basterds”), a talented auteur who “graces” the movie-going public with a new film every 3 years or so. With “Django Unchained”, Tarantino once again delivers a film with expertly made elements. He cannot, however, seem to get out of his own way and deliver a picture that’s enjoyable from start to finish. He does not understand the same principle that gets the little boy in trouble: sometimes, less is more.

Django is a slave in Texas right before the Civil War. He and his wife, Broomhilda, were sold separately after trying to run away, and they have not seen each other in a very long time. Along comes Dr. King Schultz, a bounty hunter for the U.S. government. Schultz purchases Django to help him kill criminals and collect the bounty. Along the way, a strong bond is formed between Shultz and Django which leads them on an adventure to rescue Django’s wife from the dastardly plantation owner Calvin Candie.

The film, as most Tarantino films do, pays homage to several particular genres of movies. There were a series of “Django” films in the late 1960s which is the basis for the story and character. “Django Unchained” blends Western, horror, comedy and even some classic “blaxploitation” elements into a B-movie “Grindhouse” formula that the director clearly enjoys. Also, prevalent is a wonderfully eclectic soundtrack, ranging from hip hop to country, from Elvis Presley to Johnny Cash, and even a little Jim Croce thrown in for good measure.

For all of the excess and lack of editing, Tarantino does showcase some excellent filmmaking. The director is clearly a student and lover of movies, and his screenplay contains some expertly written dialog. His problem is that he has no ability to part with any of his dialog. Clocking in at just less than 3 hours, “Django Unchained” is about 40 minutes longer than a B-movie-Western-comedy has any right to be. Tarantino is known for writing and rewriting pages and scenes in the middle of shooting. “Django Unchained” took over 130 days to film, and it seems as though all of that film wound up on screen.

The acting is top notch across the board. Jamie Foxx (“Ray”) was not the original choice for the role of Django, but he does an excellent job with a difficult role. Christoph Waltz does not have the same presence as he did in “Inglorious Basterds”, but is still more than adequate as Dr. Schultz. Two actors, however, come along and steal the movie, one of which is brand new to Tarantino’s films while the other is an old staple. Leonardo DiCaprio (“The Aviator”, “J. Edgar”) plays the antagonist Calvin Candie with relish. He is a cold-hearted villain that still manages to inject humor into his performance. Tarantino veteran Samuel L. Jackson arrives on the scene about halfway through the film, and delivers one of his most memorable performances as the head slave of Candie’s plantation, Stephen.

Viewers of “Django Unchained” should know exactly what they’re getting before they walk in the theater, but for those who are uninitiated to the director’s style or the genre of the film, please proceed with extreme caution. The film contains graphic language, male and female nudity, as well as an inordinate amount of violence, which was clearly done on purpose by the director to showcase the inhumanity of the time period. Blood spills and gushes from every possible body part. Two dogs rip a human being limb from limb. People are branded. The film spares no expense in creating the atmosphere of a B-movie revenge picture.

Just like the beloved “Inglorious Basterds”, “Django Unchained” contains all the elements of a classic Tarantino picture, for better or worse. There is excellent acting, an eclectic soundtrack and a great mesh of movie genres. The film is also a total vanity project, filled to the brim with excess. Tack on the extreme content issues, and you have a film that will please ardent fans while leaving everyone else disappointed for one reason or another. Unfortunately, Tarantino’s hand remains firmly in the cookie jar.

Violence: Extreme / Profanity: Extreme / Sex/Nudity: Extreme—includes fully nude woman and full frontal male nudity

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive
Positive—“Django” is a history lesson gone crazy, and it’s absolutely thrilling, if you can stomach the violence. Frankly, if you go to a Tarantino movie, you should know there will be profanity and violence—those are what he does best. At least with his films, they serve a purpose and forward the story. It’s certainly not for kids, and it’s certainly not for the faint of heart, but it’s a good “guy” movie. As far as the dogs tearing apart the slave scene, which another viewer said was the point where he walked out—the scene was meant to paint a villainous picture of DiCaprio’s character, and also create an ethical dilemma for Django. It wasn’t even graphic—and again, you went to a Tarantino movie about slavery… yeah, stuff’s gonna happen!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Dan, age 29 (USA)
Positive—The beauty of “Django Unchained” is that it plays all of Tarantino’s traditional entertainment tropes—and it is wildly entertaining—while also shining a spotlight on the genocide of slavery as no Hollywood film has ever done. It is an amazing piece of work and should be seen by thoughtful audiences.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Franco, age 55 (USA)
Positive—Wow! This movie is utterly amazing. Hilarious at times, but also thought provoking and shows the sad evils of slavery. It was the most entertaining film I’ve ever seen. Christoph Waltz (Dr. Schultz) may be the coolest actor ever. His beard alone is enough reason to see the movie. Jamie Foxx did great, as with DiCaprio and Samuel L. Jackson.

With that said, this IS a Tarantino movie. It is no where near “Christian” but a lot of the “foul” material in it was actually necessary, as it was about a terrible time in America’s past. It can be excessive(can’t count the number of n-words) which as also used as humor, not just being accurate. This is Tarantino; he is known for his excessive “line-crossing” movies. If you are a very conservative Christian then you should avoid this. But if you can handle a lot of violence and language, then you should see it. R rating definitely deserved. Extreme language and violence (though the violence was cartoony/fake looking, blood just flies everywhere like paint), no sex, barely any nudity.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Nathan, age 19 (USA)
Positive—Wow! This movie is utterly amazing. Hilarious at times, but also thought provoking and shows the sad evils of slavery. It was the most entertaining film I’ve ever seen. Christoph Waltz (Dr. Schultz) may be the coolest actor ever. His beard alone is enough reason to see the movie. Jamie Foxx did great, as with DiCaprio and Samuel L. Jackson.

With that said, this IS a Tarantino movie. It is no where near “Christian” but a lot of the “foul” material in it was actually necessary, as it was about a terrible time in America’s past. It can be excessive(can’t count the number of n-words) which as also used as humor, not just being accurate. This is Tarantino; he is known for his excessive “line-crossing” movies. If you are a very conservative Christian then you should avoid this. But if you can handle a lot of violence and language, then you should see it. R rating definitely deserved. Extreme language and violence (though the violence was cartoony/fake looking, blood just flies everywhere like paint), no sex, barely any nudity.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Nathan, age 19 (USA)
Positive—I feel that the movie “Django Unchained” was an excellent movie, all together, though there were a few points in the movie I feel went a bit overboard. Like other Tarantino films, there was great acting and film styles. The sound track was excellent, and the way the movie was set and how it portrayed the time, was, in my mind, great. more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
—CG, age 22 (USA)
Neutral
Neutral—First, I’d like to state that the gratuitous violence, racial slurs and cartoonish-over-the-top gore was completely expected, given the filmmaker at work. His past films have featured excessive and irrelevant use of racial slanders. This story being set around slavery was just an excuse to increase the use of one of those slanders (the “N” word, ) however, I did find the intended humor funny and the ending was definitely on the moral path (spoiler: the good guy wins). I also did not find the character of “Django” to be racist, because he was simply a man who was enslaved, then freed, then sought to rescue his kidnapped and assaulted wife. All the characters that he killed were evil men! Slave Masters, Klansmen, bad racist people! There were no innocent white characters killed.

As far as the dog scene, it wasn’t necessary to show it in quick flashes, but it was a very real part of that time period. In my opinion: The film should not have featured real reenactments of the atrocities IF it was going to feature such comedic parts, as it did. The subject is so dead serious, that it should not be in the same setting as a silly comedy. I think that’s what the opposing filmmaker (Mr. Lee) was trying to say.

Overall, the film is gratuitous and excessive, but the performances were very entertaining, and some were down right amazing (Leo and Kerri), so if you are familiar with this filmmaker, then you will enjoy parts of it more than others (especially the end… Pure Tarantino), but if you are very sensitive to imagery, then you should avoid this film. There’s slavery, violence, gore and oppression in the scriptures (The Bible), so there’s nothing new under the sun nor on the Big Screen, in “Django Unchained.”
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Barri, age 29 (USA)
Negative
Negative—A very poorly made film, not to mention poorly acted. It’s offensive on so many levels, especially since it categorizes all white men from the South as uneducated bigots and racists (even before the Civil War, this was just untrue). The history of slavery in the United States cannot be reduced to some D-movie quality onscreen vomit.

I’m offended that we have made excuses for needlessly violent films like this, by saying that “it’s artistic”. There is nothing artistic or appealing about this film (if you even could call it a film). Christians all across the country should have been walking out of the theater demanding accountability in Hollywood.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 1
—Andrew Mathe, age 31 (USA)
Comments from young people
Positive—Before you step into the theater to see this film, you should know that this a Quentin Tarantino directed film about slavery. You should expect some over the top, bloody violence, some language and nudity. If you can get though that, you will find yourself in one of the best films of the year. It has some of the best performances of the year (especially Di Caprio and Waltz), and, of course, a killer screenplay. Tarantino makes another masterpiece, but this is not for the faint of heart. Definitely a must see, and my second favorite film of the year (behind “Life of Pi.”)
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Langston, age 15 (USA)
Negative—Django is not a “good guy” like another comment has remarked. He actually PUSHES for a man to get torn apart by dogs. During the scene, the doctor remarks he wants to purchase the slave; Django says no and lets the slave get eaten by dogs. At the end, Django also shoots an unarmed and defenseless woman, as well as an unarmed man. He certainly is NOT good, and to think so CLEARLY shows that Hollywood tricked you.

If anything, the doctor was the only moral character. He only fired upon those who pointed a gun at him, threatening his life and using self defense (with the exception of Calvin). He also only hunted down and killed evil men who tried to escape with doing evil. He was more moral than Django. ***SPOILER*** Of course, Hollywood kills him off over a petty handshake (what was his deal? He didn’t have to shoot the man because he wanted to shake hands. Yes, it is repulsive to shake hands with the Devil, but he could have done so under duress and washed them afterward. They could have made a peaceful escape.) more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Handel, age 16 (USA)
Positive—Another masterpiece from the brilliant mind of Quentin Tarantino. Easily one of the best films of 2012. Another masterpiece from Quentin Tarantino. Violence: Extreme Profanity: Heavy Sex/Nudity: Heavy
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 5
—C, age 15 (USA)
Comments from non-viewers
Negative—Walked out when the dogs tore apart the slave. I’m embarrassed to be part of a society that could make a movie like this, let alone like it.
—Bob Caddock, age 61 (USA)
Negative—“Django Unchained” sounds like my kind of movie… too avoid. I love good action movies where good defeats evil and sin is looked as evil, but this movie sounds almost nothing like that. I’ll wait for the next Die Hard movie.
—Peter, age 22 (USA)
Neutral—I was planning to view “Djando Unchained,” as I really enjoyed “Pulp Fiction,” “KILL BILL” and “Inglourious Basterds.” Plus, I like the cast. (Mr. Tarentino really knows how to choose the creme de la creme for his movies). However, I read that Jamie Foxx, a fine actor, said something blasphemous at the Soul Train Awards, and I thought, “I’m NOT going to spend money on this film. I might as well see it for free when it’s released On Demand via XFinity.”

Regarding the content of the film, I know that Mr. Tarentino puts a lot of violence and language in his films… and this is the first movie he’s done that includes nudity (that I’m aware of; I have not seen “Reservoir Dogs,” but I checked the content on IMDB, and nudity is not present in the film). I’ll see the movie when it comes to On Demand, but that will obviously be anywhere from a few months to a little over a year. So I thought, I may as well just give my two cents here whilst I can.” I have no problem with profanity, as long as it does not go close to 100 or more uses of the f-word. After viewing the 1983 “Scarface,” I have no desire whatsoever to subject my ears to that kind of audio torture. And while the use of God’s Name with a mild profanity does bother me somewhat, I just try to block it out mentally and enjoy the rest of the film, and I make a note of it in every review of a movie I write on Amazon now.
—D, age 26 (USA)
Negative—I don’t generally put any stock in the reviews of someone who hasn’t seen a movie. Nor am I a viewer who expects Hollywood movies to support my Christian beliefs or edify me. But I must say how tired I am of hearing, “Oh, it’s a Quentin Tarantino film,” as if that is all the excuse one needs for what is on the screen. “Oh, it’s a Martin Scorsese film” so, of course, a movie about Jesus will be “The Last Temptation of Christ.” I don’t watch movies by Scorsese because of who the man is, and I don’t understand the logic of giving a Tarantino film a pass because of who the producer is. I will give this movie a pass because of who he is—(pompous, self-important) artist or not.
—Ed, age 54 (USA)

Sorry, no other viewer comments received yet. If you have seen this movie, PLEASE share your observations and insights with others to be posted here. GO