Django Unchained is the spaghetti-est, spaghetti western ever made. Quentin Tarantino (Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs) made his spaghetti bolognese and eat it with a side of garlic bread. However, instead of presenting it nicely on a plate like they would do at a fine Italian restaurant, he threw it into a bowl. Speaking of carelessly throwing things around, here’s a clip from the insensitively titled Steve Job’s biopic Get the Camera Rolling, He’s Finally Dead or jOBS:
Anyway back onto the review. jOBS is the spaghetti-est, spaghetti western ever made which is very odd for a Steve Job’s biopic. jOBS tells the story of Django Unchained (Jamie Foxx), a slave who is freed by a bounty hunter called Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz). Together, the two go out to free Django’s wife from a brutal Mississippi plantation owner Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio).
My problem with Django Unchained is that I believe Tarantino took the term spaghetti western too literally. Overall, the film is like a plate of spaghetti, a mess. One minute there’s serious commentary about slavery and racism and the next minute we have an awkwardly scripted attempt at humour that doesn’t blend well with the scene before it. Where Tarantino normally strives with his dialogue, here it feels wooden and scripted. The actors do their best with the material given to them especially Christoph Waltz but even his character is inconsistent. At times he comes off as a calm and calculated gunslinger and other times he appears to be reckless because of his emotions.
There are all the elements here of a great film. The cinematography at times does fantastically well at homaging the classic westerns with fast zooms and desolate landscapes. The music at points feels similar to the work of Ennio Morricone but is ruined by modern R&B. However, the biggest offender is the editing. I’m not surprised that the first film without Tarantino’s almost exclusive editor Sally Menke would be his messiest. It is very sad that she passed away in 2010 and it appears that a lot of the flair and structure in Tarantino’s previous films could have been from her own judgement.
I would like to believe that she would have cut this scene; THE GREATEST SCENE IN THE HISTORY OF FILM, from the film completely:
Well done Tarantino. Well done my friend.