Opinion: ‘Django Unchained’: Movie magic

Jake Crissman

Jake Crissman

Jake Crissman is a sophomore English major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected]

Something happened to me a few weeks ago that I’m still living with the effects of: I saw the movie “Django Unchained.” It was, simply put, stupefying. I love Quentin Tarantino and all of his past films, and I’ve been trying to decide if “Django” is his best work. The same guy who did “Pulp Fiction,” “Reservoir Dogs,” “Kill Bill” and “Inglourious Basterds” may just have outdone himself.

“Django” opened on Christmas Day and was the greatest gift that Santa could bring to us all. Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kerry Washington and Samuel L. Jackson deliver stellar performances that have garnered praise and accolades from academies, critics and average Joes.

Everyone who has seen this movie has liked it. Even if you went into the theater wanting to hate it, you came out loving it.

It is the story of a slave named Django, played by Foxx, who teams up with a German bounty hunter named Dr. King Schultz, played by Waltz, to find and free his wife, played by Washington. Django and Schultz find that Django’s wife, Broomhilda, is working on one of the largest plantations in Mississippi, Candyland, owned by Calvin Candie, played by DiCaprio. Schultz and Django enter Candie’s good graces under false pretenses, and, well, let’s just say that once all is revealed, carnage ensues.

The film takes place in 1858 and includes a hilarious portrayal of an early incarnation of the Ku Klux Klan. Funnyman Jonah Hill, of “Superbad” and “21 Jump Street” fame, has a small role in this scene along with veteran “Miami Vice” actor Don Johnson, whose character’s name is Big Daddy, as they and about 30 other Klan members debate whether they should wear poorly constructed bags on their heads as they plan a raid because they can’t see out of them.

In my opinion, “Django” is storytelling at its finest. As an aspiring writer, I am inspired by Tarantino and his knack for storytelling, whether its timeline is chronological or jumps around. He perfectly weaves drama, comedy and action into a blend of movie magic.

The dialogue is brilliant, realistic and honest, though it’s difficult to quote the film without being racially offensive. The acting is out-of-this-world, fantastically good. The cinematography, lighting and framing are perfect and have that unique essence of Tarantino that is undeniable.

Can you tell I liked this film a lot?

The roles are perfectly casted. Initially, Tarantino wanted Will Smith to play the part of Django; however, Smith ultimately turned it down. But now it’s nearly impossible to imagine anyone other than Foxx playing the gun-slinging, newly freed man.

“Django” was a much-needed breath of fresh air as far as movies go. In a time when all movie studios care about is procuring mammoth profits by producing sequels and remakes, it’s nice to know that there is still a true noble talent out there like Tarantino.