A western like no other

Django Unchained Alliance/Weinstein Rating: 18A 165 minutes

Django Unchained is writer/director Quentin Tarantino’s homage to ‘spaghetti’ westerns. It’s too long (almost three hours) and displays the excessive violence, cruelty and blood seen in most of his films (Inglourious Basterds), but it is seldom dull.

Set in 1858, slavery is shown in its worse light. Christoph Waltz plays a ruthless bounty hunter and former dentist who needs a slave, played by Jamie Foxx, to identify some of his targets. Afterwards Foxx, more or less granted his freedom by Waltz, becomes a bounty hunter too. Now carrying a gun and even shooting white men, he is a figure of amazement to other blacks and most whites.

But Foxx only wants to find his wife (Kerry Washington) who is now a slave on a plantation run by a nasty owner (Leonardo DiCaprio in a very nasty supporting role).

They track her down and hatch a scheme to set her free, which is foiled by DiCaprio’s black lackey, played by a rather startling Samuel L. Jackson.

Tarantino always displays an unusual enthusiasm about movies in his films. He writes inane but often amusing dialogue, puts in unexpected, in-your-face plot twists, often back to back and sometimes goes completely overboard.

For example, in what you think is the big final shootout, the killing and spurts of blood are so overdone they are almost comical. But it turns out, that’s not the final shootout after all and Django Unchained still has a couple of endings to go.

Rating: four deer out of five

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Alf Cryderman is a Red Deer freelance writer and old movie buff.