Django Unchained – 8.4

Pitch perfect. The ultimate Tarantino. Gratuitous violence has never been so fun. A miscast Leonardo DiCaprio – although not as bad as Brad Pitt in Inglorious Basterds  – was my only quibble, but all the other actors were so great it hardly mattered. Samuel L. Jackson was Oscar-worthy, but Christoph Walz was on a higher plane still; just seeing his character’s picture in a newspaper makes me smile.  Part of the movie’s brilliance was that while the subject of slavery was never absent from the picture, it was never its overt subject. Instead, the plot revolved around bounty-hunting! Dr. King Schultz expressed his disdain for the practice but then accepted it as a given; so we in the audience had our emotions entangled without being beaten over the head. All the scenes caused visual echoes of deeply embedded images from childhood Westerns, and then there was the incongruous music, from spaghetti western to hip-hop to Jim Croce, making you feel, but keeping you just enough detached or off-balance. What’s coming next? Who knows, but it’s sure to be violent and fun.

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