Django Unchained portrays an acting showcase of talent with the leading cast being Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio and Samuel L. Jackson. Throw in the mix of Quentin Tarantino at the helm and you have yourself a bloody, spaghetti western masterpiece, and it did not disappoint.
Tarantino wrote and directed the latest film from his widely-spread career spanning more than twenty years. Django Unchained dices with the controversial issues of slavery and racism which Quentin wanted to deal with because he feels American filmmakers shy away from these subjects due to the sheer taboo of them. I feel the script is written very well with scenes of quirky, witty comedy as Tarantino always includes in his movies; plus the gory violence for added measure. However, he has also written tender scenes between Django and his wife played by Kerry Washington. The narrative has the perfect mixture of these conventions but that isn't the only reason it works so well, the way Quentin has written the film demonstrating the different emotions of anger, love and comedy are flawlessly inducted but they are also split evenly over the feature that allows it to flow very smoothly. My only swipe at the film would be the running length as I don't think it needs to be 165 minutes long as some scenes could have been made shorter, but I am probably clutching at straws here though.
The casting in Django is intelligent and respectable to say the least. The respectable element comes in the form of Jamie Foxx because he is a brilliant leading actor to portray Django and he nailed his difficult role well. The intelligent element enters now because Quentin knows what he is getting with employing Christoph Waltz and Samuel L. Jackson, as he has worked with them before in Inglorious and Pulp fiction respectively. Of course Jackson has been in more of Tarantino's features, but Pulp Fiction being the most famous. Taking this into account, Quentin could write the perfect roles for the actors he's already worked with. For example, Waltz's character is a German bounty hunter so Christoph is half way there as he is right nationality... well, obviously not the killer department. Furthermore, the real intellect here comes in the form of Leonardo DiCaprio. Leo's role in Django Unchained is perfect to his acting style. In recent years, Leo has come under fire for his acting as it has been claimed by critics his style is lazy and his performances are similar, to be fair his awards reflect this with many nominations (including two Oscar nominations) but very few wins. In Django, he is calm, evil and smooth. His performance reminds me of a more polished, respectable presentation of his character in Scorsese's Shutter Island. There is a scene where Leo lets loose his anger and fury when he screams an abusive lecture at Django (Foxx) and Schultz (Waltz) providing a great movie sequence in the film that is very memorable. The casting of DiCaprio alone is a great move by Tarantino.
Samuel L. Jackson receives some great lines of dialogue in the movie as he delivers them with perfect timing and emotion; he is fully believable in his role. The more quiet and collected character of Django is notably played by Jamie Foxx and he thoroughly impressed in the leading man role. I imagine an award season snub is because of too much competition in that category this year. However, Waltz deserves his Golden Globe victory and his Academy Award nomination for his portrayal as just like in Inglorious; he is triumphant in this role too. Lest we forget, he won the Academy Award that year for Inglorious so maybe it's his time again.
The Verdict To sum up, Tarantino has casts his magic and his genius ability to create another masterpiece to take its place in his incredible back catalogue. Whenever I go to the cinema to see another Tarantino film, I fear that it won't live up to the extraordinary expectation but I am blown away every time. Django Unchained is no different; Quentin has written and directed another gem that will be remembered for many reasons and for so many years to come too. One question is... is it his best yet? I will let you decide that.