Saturday, February 9, 2013

Django Unchained

My thoughts on this film could either be presented in a quick & brief over-sweeping manner, or I can go scene by scene by scene. For anyone who happens upon this's sake, I'll take the brief route because that does describing Django Unchained as much justice as talking about each and every shot. Why? Because my thoughts on the film can be summed up as, "it's Tarantino." As someone who always pays attention to the director, this is a prime example of a filmmaker's influence in place of say a studio or some other generic example (not that there is anything wrong with those).

This is Tarantino doing a western. That should be enough for most. I could talk about each moment and the homages, but also how like any great artist, Tarantino takes it in his own direction that is instantly recognizeable. Like the Coen brothers, Paul Thomas Anderson, or Wes Anderson just to name a few.

Django is a mix of a spaghetti western set against the backdrop of slavery with fantastical costumes, timely sets, an extensive cast, Robert Richardson's visuals (back with film again after Scorsese's digitally shot Hugo), and methodical editing and sound design. Considering that Tarantino is also a writer and effectively a brand name, he is like a puppet master. You can dissect each scene and their purpose and still appreciate what he does as a filmmaker. Form me, that's a quintessential director and even autuer. He understands the structure of story, the development of character, and the purpose of dialogue so well that he knows how to pull out the rug from under what is recognizeable.

I could even probably spend another hundred words about his use of music (Rick Ross, James Brown, Anthony Hamilton, Luis Bacalov, John Legend, Ennio Morricone... and those are just the ones I didn't have to look up).

This is quite simply a Tarantino film and all that the description entails. Mostly, just fun.

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