“Django Unchained” brutally cuts a swath through pre-Civil War villainy, courtesy of the bounty-hunting, titular antihero played by Jamie Foxx. Another darkly funny film by Quentin Tarantino, “Django” is a gritty saga enlivened by a bunch of respectable actors and the filmmaker’s inimitable wit.
Freed by the silver-tongued bounty hunter King Schultz (Cristoph Waltz), the slave Django partners up with his rescuer, becoming a bounty hunter himself. Schultz and Django eventually go on a mission to free the latter’s wife Broomhilda (Kerry Washington), a slave owned by the plantation owner Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio).
“Django” is a simple, straightforward adventure for more mature audiences. It’s violent and disconcerting from the outset, its bloody confrontations and profanity-laced dialogue characterizing the era’s sordid and discomfiting realities. Django’s unlikely uprising and uncommon quest create an escapist and very cathartic fantasy for its viewers. The African-American underdog champion, riding free in a time of slavery, is an interesting contradiction, and the irony is milked creatively.
Foxx is “real” and accessible as Django, but Waltz is especially entertaining as the master of strategy and smooth talk, a character that manages to be endearing because of its favorable growth. And in contrast, there’s the hilarious manservant character played by Samuel Jackson, a seemingly harmless character that gradually becomes someone you love hating.
It’s a bit lengthy, but it’s an enjoyable ride, albeit a periodically gruesome one. It amusingly paints a picture of basic and universal desires, an audacious revenge-rescue tale made engaging by Tarantino’s unmistakable sense of humor.
“Django Unchained” will be in Philippine cinemas starting March 13.