Django Unchained

A fun and entertaining, quintessentially Quentin Tarantino movie that is typically more plot rather than character driven. Nonetheless, Tarantino has scripted a highly original screenplay and populated it with a cast of talented actors, it is just a pity that the characters are relatively one-dimensional. Tarantino may have a daft hand and mind to come up with brilliant stories, but like all his other previous features, e.g Kill Bill 1 & 2 and Inglourious Basterds, he fails at providing real depth to his characters and firmly establishing their motivation into the psyche of the audience. In particular, when it comes to romance he is just clumsy and clunky. Thankfully, his movies always have a very absorbing plot, memorable characters, some great lines, a superb soundtrack and panache. The supporting casts are all outstanding with some of the best work by Leonardo diCaprio and Samuel L Jackson. DiCaprio was easily one of the best thing about this movie, as he embraces his inner villain and goes all out in his evil cackle, shifty glinty eyes and OTT boisterousness; Jackson, on the other hand, made an interesting villain out of somebody that appeared so harmless, and he imbued that character with more cunning and fear than anybody else in the show. Christoph Waltz may have won the Best Supporting Actor for this role, but he, like Phillip Seymour Hoffman for "The Master", is really more a co-lead. Nonetheless, his performance was definitely one of the highlight of the show from  the beginning to the end, although his schtick tended to get a bit old towards the final Act. Jamie Foxx as the eponymous lead was a stone-faced character throughout, and it is so hard to really comprehend and understand his motivation: I mean I get it on a cerebral level, but not really emotionally. A throwaway scene in the middle of Act One, is really insufficient for me to care whether he gets to his goal in the end or not.  All these character flaws are where Tarantino is to blame, for he sacrificed characterisation for plot development. These are forgivable in the supporting cast, but even for the lead? As I said, at least what is happening on the screen is interesting enough to keep me entertained. And entertained I was, with the 165 minutes of showtime moving along at a great pace, and surprisingly this was a much less violent experience than his previous entries. Also, not much Singapore censorship detected. The excellent choices of music that Tarantino always have in his movies are also a pleasure to the total enjoyment of this revenge flick. He always had a good ear for the pop psyche. Directing wise was nothing special. There were a lot of wide-angled scenes and some creative shots, but all are part of his trademark and nothing new has been added to his repertoire that we have not seen since "Pulp Fiction" days. Stay till the end of credits!

Note: There are some serious themes and issues that are brought out by the movie which can be viewed both ways. I do not know which was the way Tarantino intended it to be, but he has given us an entertaining movie, and the lessons that we can learn from it - a Satire of Black slavery and White supremacy or a Cautionary Tale on White guilt, or just plain old Fight for the One your Love and Freedom is Equal, Equality is Free - is really up to us an intelligent audience to go figure out ourselves. Or maybe it is just simply Entertainment!

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