December 25th, 2012
10:04 AM ET
"Django Unchained" is not without its faults, but you'd have a tough time identifying them from the reviews.
Overall, critics have been thoroughly entertained by Quentin Tarantino's latest offering, which sees Jamie Foxx's Django go from a slave to a free man seeking to reunite with his enslaved wife, Broomhilda, and to level the deserving with revenge.
While Foxx and Kerry Washington, who portrays Broomhilda, get a nod or two for their performances, it was Christoph Waltz's turn as German bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz and Samuel L. Jackson's unnerving portrayal of Stephen, the enslaved right-hand-man of Leonardo DiCaprio's ruthless plantation owner Calvin Candie, that were the most praised.
But that's not to overlook writer/director Tarantino who, if not exactly stretching himself with "Django," is relishing being squarely in his wheelhouse.
"'Django Unchained' is classic Tarantino. ... The dialogue, particularly in the first hour, is some of the wittiest of any screenplay in recent memory," said USA Today's Claudia Puig. Tarantino's unflinchingly take on slavery and violence isn't for everyone, but for those who can stand to listen, Puig believes "Tarantino has something serious to say about American culture, history and race."
With "Django," the Los Angeles Times lauded in its review, the director himself is the man "Unchained," "creating his most articulate, intriguing, provoking, appalling, hilarious, exhilarating, scathing and downright entertaining film yet."
The New York Post was more measured in its critique, hinting that if you liked 2009's "Inglorious Basterds" you'll likely enjoy this Western ride, too.
"Like all Tarantino movies, 'Django' features expertly engineered surprises, plenty of big movie moments and several instances of loopy brilliance, but it’s also a rehash of 'Inglourious Basterds' with slavery substituting for Nazism," critic Kyle Smith said.
CNN's Tom Charity considered "Django" one of the best of the year, finding it to be a "big, brazen movie, brilliantly acted across the board [and] one of the best things Tarantino has done."
Rolling Stones' Peter Travers was candid about where "Django" comes up short - or, rather, runs long - but he believes the entertainment value will make up for that.
"Like Sergio Corbucci, who directed the first 'Django' (starring Franco Nero), in 1966, Tarantino obeys the only commandment that counts in exploitation movies: anything goes," said. "'Django Unchained' is literally all over the place. It twists and turns over an unbridled two hours and 45 minutes, giving history (and stamina) a serious pounding ... Not that you'll care. You'll be having too much fun."
Well, unless your name is Spike Lee. The filmmaker recently explained that he hasn't seen "Django," and has no interest in doing so because he finds it to be "disrespectful."
"I can't speak on it 'cause I'm not gonna see it," he said in an interview with VIBETV last week. "All I'm going to say is that it's disrespectful to my ancestors."
He elaborated on Twitter Saturday, posting, "American Slavery Was Not A Sergio Leone Spaghetti Western.It Was A Holocaust.My Ancestors Are Slaves.Stolen From Africa.I Will Honor Them."
Lee's been cautious to add that he's only speaking for himself, not anyone else.
Are you planning on seeing "Django," and if you have, what did you think?
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