Quentin Tarantino is quoted as saying that in Django Unchained, he wanted to create the archetypal black cowboy. In Jamie Fox he has succeeded in doing that and a lot more. The first half hour is side-splittingly funny as Tarantino turns stereotypes on their head, and plays with devastating one-liners.
Two years before the Civil War the slave Django (Jamie Foxx) is released from a chain gang by a suave bounty hunter (Christoph Waltz) who needs him to identify the members of a gang he is hunting. After a very profitable partnership Waltz and Foxx join up to rescue Brunhilde, Foxx's improbably named wife, from a plantation owned by Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio) and with a powerful house slave (Samuel L Jackson) who switches roles in an instant from Uncle Tom to torquemanda.
Villainy is not understated, and Tarantino gets to skewer with his subversive screen-play Southern hospitality, the Klu Klux Klan, and spaghetti westerns. The violence is graphic and so over-the-top as to be surreal. Yet we are only too aware that in only a couple of years the carnage will only be too real, as the Civil War explodes.
This is a good film – possibly a great one - and its complex plot operates on many levels.