* As usual with Quentin Tarantino films, he has great dialogue.
* As usual with Tarantino, he manages to pull off long self-indulgent scenes with meandering dialogue, and yet still keep the tension high.
* As usual with Tarantino, the sound track for this film is awesome.
* As usual with Tarantino, the film has all sorts of clever homages to the 1970s style of filmmaking.
* As usual with Tarantino, he’s managed to pull together yet another all star cast.
* Great performances by the aforementioned all-star cast
* As usual with Tarantino, he’s being trivial with subject matter he really shouldn’t be trivial with.
* As usual with Tarantino, there seems to be a degree of sadism going on in this film.
* The film starts out strong, but the resolution is just a boring shoot-‘em-up.
At this point in Quentin Tarantino’s career, everybody knows what to expect. The usual strengths are fully on display, as well as his usual failings.
There’s a thorny question about whether it’s appropriate to exploit real historical tragedies for trashy revenge films. That question is outside of the 100 words I’m giving myself for this review. But if you put that aside, and focus just on the entertainment value of this film, I’d call it a success.
7 out of 10 stars. (Assuming you focus only on the entertainment value, and ignore questions of appropriacy, I think it gets a solid 7 for entertainment.)
In my review of Black Ajax, I made reference to the controversy surrounding Django Unchained. Having seen this film, I have to say it’s even closer to Black Ajax than I realized. Both stories involve a Francophile sadist slave owner who trains his slaves as pugilists and forces them to fight to the death.
Also see my other reviews of Tarantino films: Inglorious Basterds, Kill Bill, Kill Bill Further Thoughts, Kill Bill 2, and True Romance.
The AVclub’s review of this film does such a good job of capturing the ambivalence any sane person would feel towards Tarantino, that I want to quote the first paragraph in full:
Quentin Tarantino has devoted the last decade to meticulously crafting enormously satisfying B-movie revenge fantasies for sexy women (Kill Bill, Death Proof), Jews (Inglourious Basterds) and now, with his explosive slavery-themed Western Django Unchained, African-Americans. In the films of Tarantino’s revenge collection, a noble desire to cinematically right (or re-write) historical wrongs mingles with and mutates more problematic impulses toward exhibitionism, sensationalism, voyeurism, fetishism, and exploitation. In film after film, Tarantino combines aggressively combustible elements—racism, sexism, profanity, hard drugs, violence against women, rape, Nazi brutality, slavery—with the deranged delight of a mad scientist, then cackles with glee as he lights a flame and watches the magnificent destruction that ensues. Tarantino remains an entertainer above all else, so his lurid provocations are generally in service of the intense emotions he forcefully, confidently orchestrates. Part of his genius in manipulating audiences lies in creating immersive cinematic experiences so overpowering that they distract from the thorny questions about race, sex, violence, and representation his films pose without answering. For better or worse, Tarantino aspires to an experience more emotional than intellectual, more in line with the giddy, transgressive thrill he experienced devouring B-movies as a young cinephile than the more cerebral, less immediate charms of the arthouse. He straddles the line separating art and trash, but his allegiance clearly lies with trash.
The rest of the article is worth reading as well.
Link of the DayNoam Chomsky "Globalization and Neoliberalism"