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Now showing @ Cornerhouse… Reviewed: Django Unchained

By John Paul Shammas

Django is unchained and hitting the screens at Manchester’s Cornerhouse this week.

Quentin Tarantino invites us again into his twisted cinematic landscape where history and cinema collide, separate and re-bond in audacious, fearless fashion with Django Unchained.

This western takes place two years before the American Civil War, when black slave Django is set free and teams up with bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz in an epic, blood-soaked revenge story. 

They embark on a mission across through Texas to Mississippi in a bid to free Django’s wife, who has been sold to the eccentric plantation owner Calvin Candie, played by Leonardo Di Caprio. 

Tarantino’s recent output, notably Kill Bill: Vol 2 and Inglorious Bastards have all had elements of the spaghetti western, however this is an all-out classic genre piece which delivers on all fronts whilst paying obvious homage to John Ford and of course, Sergio Leone. 

It’s consistently shocking, laugh-out-loud hilarious and crucially, it has Tarantino’s best developed characters since Jackie Brown. Witnessing Django’s journey from the downtrodden slave to the blaxploitation bounty hunter will be a blast for audiences.

And let’s not forget Christopher Waltz, who won every plaudit going with his performance as The Jew Hunter in Inglorious Bastards, solidifying his reputation here as one of the great character actors with his performance of Dr. King Schultz.

Much in the way that Tarantino’s dialogue is second nature to Samuel L Jackson, Waltz too can now deliver it with a poetry which is devastating, comedic and hypnotic.

This is such a in-your-face experience that you can’t help asking yourself throughout why all action movies aren’t this funny, exhilarating and moving all at once.

Django Unchained is Tarantino at his most devastating and his most confident, with everything turned up to eleven. The set-pieces are memorable, the dialogue reeks of cool, and the 165 minute running flies by.

Such is the experience, that by the time the credits roll, Django Unchained is cemented into the mythology of the spaghetti western. Undoubtedly Tarantino’s finest work since Jackie Brown.

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