There seems to be no end to my list of anticipated films in 2012, but found somewhere close to the top, in between all the surly secret agents and kids in red and blue pyjamas, you’ll find Quentin Tarantino’s spaghetti western/slave story, Django Unchained.
I’ve really liked the look of everything I had seen and heard thus far, particularly Leonardo DiCaprio’s dastardly slave owner Calvin Candie, and so I’ve been eagerly waiting word from Cannes – where 7 minutes of the film’s footage was recently screened – to see if Tarantino has repeated the magical genre mash-up success of Inglourious Basterds with his latest.
And the early word on the Cannes streets is a resounding “Yee-haw!”
TotalFilm has quite a write-up on what they’ve seen, here are some of the highlights:
“It’s going to be widescreen stunning… Mood-wise and lensing-wise (he’s shooting anamorphic on 35mm), Tarantino is clearly looking to deliver epic.”
“Christoph Waltz’s Dr King Shultz is going to equal Hans Landa… Impeccably-dressed, the good doctor greets all before expertly filling the bad guys with lead. He’s calm, collected, sardonic and morally ambiguous. Another classic character in the making?”
“Like any good QT flick, Django Unchained promises unflinching fisticuffs. In the footage we saw, Waltz plugs holes in heads and splatter’s blood like a good ‘un and Foxx’s Django is deadly with a bull whip.”
“As Calvin Candie, a sadistic slave owner who enjoys making his slaves fight gladiatorial battles at his Candie Land plantation, DiCaprio is oily (in both hair and manner), puffing on his cigarette-holder and leering at Foxx across his opulent salon.”
“Whether he’s rocking leather cowboy duds or a frilly blue valet suit (in a scene where Django is ridiculed by houseslaves for his choice of outfit), Foxx’s Django is the epitome of cool, a heat-seeking missile looking for his wife.”
Film critic Anne Thompson gave her thoughts on the footage she had seen:
“Weinstein Co. is selling this as a bang-up western, packed with physical comedy and bloody action and hell-bent revenge. And yes, it looks like a classic widescreen Sergio Leone western, even if the setting is New Orleans and Mississippi two years before the Civil War. (The music on the trailer ranged from classic Johnny Cash to James Brown. No Ennio Morricone here. As yet.)… Tarantino is taking the revenge western to a whole new level as the two bounty hunters shoot their way through the unsuspecting South. It looks like the first Leone-esque section of “Inglourious Basterds,” and it’s about fighting injustice, except that this time it’s not Brad Pitt against the Nazis in World War II–it’s an angry black man getting his own back from racist white southerners before the Civil War… This is not your ordinary movie to sell overseas or domestically — or to the Academy. (I will not be surprised if the movie gets pushed back out of 2012.) But when Tarantino breaks the rules with style and panache, critics and audiences follow.”
Quint from AintItCoolNews had this to say:
“This thing just looks like a ton of fun and while I was already excited for the movie I’m now officially giddy. All the location work makes the film look huge, Foxx is at the top of his game it appears, Waltz is loveable, funny and dangerous all at once and it just feels like everybody is having a blast.”
Kyle Buchanan over at Vulture gave a recap of what they saw:
“The big surprise? How funny this potentially controversial Western has turned out to be. In particular, Leonardo DiCaprio seems to be having the time of his life dropping N-bombs and smiling rotted teeth as plantation owner Calvin Candie, whom freed slave Jamie Foxx and bounty hunter Christoph Waltz must defeat in order to save Foxx’s wife Kerry Washington. You’ll get a periwinkle-suited Foxx shooting lumpy blood chunks out of racist hicks (and an innocent snowman in one scene), and you’ll laugh! You’ll get Don Johnson dressed as Colonel Sanders! And you’ll get an instant catchphrase from a cooly underplaying Foxx, when he’s asked his name: ‘Django. The D is silent.'”
Some other press, critics and bloggers in attendance also took to da Twitterz to express their gushing approval of Tarantino’s latest film:
Looks like Christmas Day this year is going to be a bloody affair filled with slimy scoundrels and racial slurs. So just like my Xmas family lunch last year! I can’t wait!
Here’s the full synopsis:
Set in the South two years before the Civil War, “Django Unchained” stars Academy Award®-winner Jamie Foxx as Django, a slave whose brutal history with his former owners lands him face-to-face with German-born bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz (Academy Award®-winner Christoph Waltz). Schultz is on the trail of the murderous Brittle brothers, and only Django can lead him to his bounty. The unorthodox Schultz acquires Django with a promise to free him upon the capture of the Brittles – dead or alive.
Success leads Schultz to free Django, though the two men choose not to go their separate ways. Instead, Schultz seeks out the South’s most wanted criminals with Django by his side. Honing vital hunting skills, Django remains focused on one goal: finding and rescuing Broomhilda (Kerry Washington), the wife he lost to the slave trade long ago.
Django and Schultz’s search ultimately leads them to Calvin Candie (Academy Award®-nominee Leonardo DiCaprio), the proprietor of “Candyland,” an infamous plantation where slaves are groomed by trainer Ace Woody (Kurt Russell) to battle each other for sport. Exploring the compound under false pretenses, Django and Schultz arouse the suspicion of Stephen (Academy Award®-nominee Samuel L. Jackson), Candie’s trusted house slave. Their moves are marked, and a treacherous organization closes in on them. If Django and Schultz are to escape with Broomhilda, they must choose between independence and solidarity, between sacrifice and survival…
Last Updated: May 22, 2012