Foxx, DiCaprio face off in ‘Django Unchained’

After a hiatus from filmmaking, Quentin Tarantino returns with another box office gem in “Django Unchained,” a stylish and thrilling western starring Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz and Leonardo DiCaprio.

Like most of Tarantino’s films, “Django Unchained” embodies a unique dynamic with his latest movie, meshing dark comedy, witty dialogue and intense action scenes to deliver a highly entertaining viewing package.

“Django Unchained” stars Jamie Foxx as its title character, Django, a slave-turned-bounty hunter on a mission to rescue his wife from a fierce Mississippi plantation owner, Calvin Candie (DiCaprio).

Django teams up with a former dentist, Dr. Schultz (Waltz), who is also in the bounty hunting business.

This is Waltz’s second straight major role in a Tarantino movie. In 2009’s “Inglourious Basterds,” Waltz played a Nazi military colonel, the film’s main antagonist.

His performance in “Inglourious Basterds” was one for the ages. With his ability to perform under a fast-flowing and entertaining script, he won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.

In “Django Unchained,” he shows that his Oscar-winning performance from 2009 was no fluke. He plays the most humorous character in the film and looks the most comfortable delivering under yet another wacky Tarantino script.

As good as Waltz is, though, there is another supporting performance that might be better.

He hasn’t won an Oscar yet in his career, but DiCaprio may very well win his first as the film’s main antagonist, Calvin Candie.

The Mississippi plantation owner is by far the best villain in any Tarantino film, which is certainly saying something.

Historically speaking, DiCaprio plays a fairly accurate depiction of what a slave owner was possibly like during the 1850s. He’s merciless and conceited, yet acts very glamorous around other people.

It wasn’t an easy role to fill, but DiCaprio certainly pulled it off. Considering the amount of detail and passion he puts into his roles, it’s surprising that he hasn’t held up a piece of Oscar hardware yet. But expect him to in February.

The acting along with the dialogue really sets this film apart from any other movie released this year. This is classic Tarantino in every sense.

Like every Tarantino film before it, “Django Unchained” features a nice mixture of black comedy elements and serious tones. For instance, Candie’s plantation in Mississippi is facetiously named “Candyland.” However, Candie’s personality is anything but facetious.

The soundtrack of “Django Unchained” somehow meshes well with many of the movie’s scenes. Many of the tracks are imported from older Western films, but a host of new songs produced by Jamie Foxx are also featured.

Tarantino manages to insert every track at just about the right time, which is no easy task when the movie is scattered with vast amounts of zany dialogue and burlesque action scenes.

“Django Unchained” is the complete package and the best film to be released in a somewhat dry year for cinema. Even though it clocks in at almost three hours, there is enough value in this film to keep you entertained through its duration.

 

JACOB TARR

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