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Friday, June 8, 2012

Trailer Breakdown: DJANGO UNCHAINED

It's been three years since his last film, but Quentin Tarantino looks to come back with a vengeance with the Christmas 2012 release of Django Unchained. The first trailer for the film has finally been released, and I've taken the liberty of watching it a few times through to try to get a decent sense of what we may be getting once the film hits theaters. For starters, let's take a look at the trailer itself, shall we?

And now, let's talk about it a bit. I've come up with a few questions that came to mind while watching the trailer, and I'll do my best to answer them as accurately as I can. 

1. What is Django Unchained?
Although I'm sure many of you already know the basic plot outline, I'll recap what we're given from the trailer: 
A bounty hunter (Christoph Waltz) enlists the help of a former slave (Jamie Foxx) to find a number of slave owners with bounties on their heads. In return, the bounty hunter will help the former slave free his wife (Kerry Washington) from the clutches of an evil plantation owner (Leonardo DiCaprio) who now holds her captive. 
Knowing Tarantino, there's definitely going to be a bit more to the plot than that, but there's a good starting point for those of you curious about the film's storyline. The film is inspired by the 1966 spaghetti western Django.

2. What's up with the music in the trailer?
The first thing I noticed is that the trailer holds quite a bit of more contemporary music than one would imagine for a film of this genre. Normally, I'd think nothing of it considering Tarantino's normally brilliant music selections, but after his 2009 film Inglourious Basterds, which utilized a number of more rustic scores for the soundtrack, I had a feeling he might be going down that road again this time around. Still, this is only the trailer, and we'll have to wait and see just what Tarantino has in store for the film's soundtrack, but we can be sure it'll fit seamlessly into his storyline. 

3. Christoph Waltz is back. Is this the start of an ongoing Tarantino/Waltz collaboration?

Christoph Waltz has been acting for years and years, but most of his work prior to 2009 took place in either Germany or his native Austria. His supporting role in Inglourious Basterds, which landed him an Academy Award, revitalized his career and brought him into the international mainstream. Since then, he's appeared in sub-par films like The Green Hornet, The Three Musketeers and Water for Elephants as well as the stellar Carnage, but his role in Django Unchained looks like it might rival the one he crafted for his Oscar-winning turn. And we all know that Tarantino has a penchant for keeping some actors around his films. We can see Tim Roth and Steve Buscemi in both Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction. And I think everyone knows about the continued collaboration between Tarantino and Samuel L. Jackson, who will also appear in Django Unchained. So, if Waltz wants to continue working with the director, I honestly have no problem with it.

4. Will this film revitalize Jamie Foxx's career?
I've generally liked what Jamie Foxx has managed to do as an actor, but since his Oscar-winning turn as Ray Charles in 2004's Ray, he's had much less success in garnering critical praise despite appearing in larger films like 2005's Jarhead and 2006's Dreamgirls. His last role was in 2011's Horrible Bosses where he portrayed a man named - and I kid you not - Dean 'Motherf---er' Jones. If anybody is in desperate need of a push, it's Foxx, and hopefully the role of Django can help push him back over the hill.

5. Is Leonardo DiCaprio playing a villain? 
All signs point to yes, although this isn't exactly a revelation. Tarantino hasn't been shy about letting the world know he's bringing the three-time Oscar nominee into the fray as the film's antagonist, and everything I've seen thus far makes it seem as though this could prove to be one of DiCaprio's best roles yet. It will also mark the first time in his acting career that he'll have portrayed a film's villain. Sure, he's played shady characters before, but to be the outright bad guy is something a little out of his area of expertise. But with his talents and with Tarantino's direction, this could be the surprise performance of the film.

6. What genre will Django Unchained fall under?
That's actually a pretty good question. It's currently being listed as a dramatic western, but if the trailer is any basis, then there should be an ample amount of comedy. Tarantino's screenplays often hold a legitimate level of humor, and that's part of what makes his films so entertaining and engaging. For example, the trailer shows two clips that offer the following two lines uttered by Foxx's Django: 
(when asked whether he enjoys bounty hunting)
"Kill white folks, and they pay you for it? What's not to like?

(when asked his name)
"Django. The 'D' is silent."
So I would say be prepared to laugh. At the same time, however, there should also be quite a bit of action. Django, the film that inspired this particular venture, was once billed as the most violent film of all time, and we all know just how much bloodshed Tarantino is willing to spill. Is it going to be the most violent film of all time? Certainly not; however, I would be prepared for a rootin', shootin' romp through the Southern countryside. 


Ultimately, none of us will know just how good or bad the film might be until it hits theaters this Christmas. That being said, I personally have to say that I'm ecstatic to see this film. Having only in recent years come to the see the brilliance of Quentin Tarantino's filmmaking, I'm sure that Django Unchained will fit right into the canon of his filmography. I simply cannot wait.


  1. Having read the script last year, I had someone older in mind for Leo's character. But we'll see. Perhaps he'll be THE KID from QUICK AND THE DEAD had he lived and grown to be like his father (Gene Hackman).