New to Home Video – “Django Unchained”

django unchainedTwo time Oscar winner “Django Unchained” comes to home video. The film won for Best Original Screenplay and Best Actor, Christoph Waltz.

In any good film you need a character, or characters, who want something and want it very badly. Then there have to be road blocks put in their way.  This creates conflict, which moves the story along while, hopefully, holding audience attention.

In “Django Unchained” writer/director Quentin Tarantino sort of does this, but not to the extent that he could have, at least not to the point of keeping interest for a movie that is two hours and 45 minutes in length.  Yes, the main characters, Django (Jamie Foxx) and Dr. King Schultz (Waltz), do have an objective toward which they are striving.  My issue is that there seemed to be a rather simple way to achieve this goal.  However, the characters did not take the obvious route.  Granted, every story is a contrivance. The key though is to not make the story look contrived.  There needs to be logical, believable reasons as to why characters are making, or not making, certain choices.  When I found myself, during “Django,” wondering why the characters are not doing what, to me, seems obvious, I was ahead of the story and, as a result, bought out of what was happening on the screen.

The character, Django, has been the subject of many an Italian Western, in which Django was frequently played by actor Franco Nero.  In Tarantino’s vision, Django has been transported to the antebellum south and turned into a slave, nicely played by Foxx.  So perhaps “Django” should be more accurately called a “southern” rather than a western.  “Django Unchained” has a stellar cast which, in addition to Foxx and Waltz, also includes Leonardo Di Caprio, Samuel L. Jackson, Don Johnson (of TV’s “Miami Vice” fame) and Russ Tamblyn (yes, Riff from “West Side Story!”).

Be warned, “Django Unchained” is rather talky in parts, but, rest assured, Tarantino does reward our patience with bloodier than bloody shoot outs.

Use the search box, on the right, to look up my complete review of “Django Unchained” when it first was released.


About unpaidfilmcritic

Up until 2009 Seth Shire spent nearly two decades in the New York film industry as a post production supervisor of feature films. Highlights include working on the films of Martin Scorsese, James Toback and Spike Lee. Since leaving the film industry Seth has expanded into new and varied areas where he has found a great deal of satisfaction. Seth currently teaches in the Sociology Department of CUNY Queens College. His courses include "Mass Media and Popular Culture," "Introduction to Sociology," and "Sociology of Cinema" where he is a very popular teacher. Seth is also the film critic for "Town & Village," a Manhattan weekly newspaper, a position he has held for the past six years. Seth gives back to his community through volunteer teaching at Manhattan's "The Caring Community," a center for senior citizens, where he teaches a very popular course on documentaries called "The Golden Age of the Documentary. In the fall of 2010 Seth taught "Critical Reading and Writing" at Parsons School of Design. He has also taught "Cinema Studies" at the New York Film Academy. Seth lives in Stuyvesant Town, in Manhattan.

Posted on May 1, 2013, in Now on DVD and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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