I’m not a fan of Quieten Tarantino.
There. That’s said.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t hate him. I don’t hate his movies….not all of them anyhow. I love his crime stuff. I can enjoy his horror. But for the last ten years or so he’s been on this kick to make “Grindhouse” style movies. Even that’s fine. Pulp Fiction has a BIT of a grindhouse edge to it. The problem is, he gets SO focused on making a grindhouse movie that he forgets to make a FUN movie. This is never more obvious than in the Grindhouse double feature. Robert Rodriguez’s Planet Terror outshines Tarantino’s Deathproof because he manages a perfect balance of grindhousey madness with fun storytelling. He doesn’t lose himself in the art….and I think that’s what Tarantino has done since Jackie Brown.
There’s still a bit of the old fashioned gridhouse feel to it – in many ways it’s a ’70’s spaghetti western, but dosen’t wallow in it. The name alone is a throwback, but then is used to good effect. Those comic scenes we see in the commercials “the ‘D’ is silent” come off as a lot more serious in the film. The movie is violent, proportinately so to it’s namesake…and the violence is beautifully done. It was once noted that in Anime, the human body contains approximatly thirty gallons of blood, all under high compression. Tarantino obviously subscribes to this same theroy. Every gunshot would unleashes streams of blood – enough to make fans of Ninja Scroll go “Woah! Don’t you think that may be a bit much?”
At nearly three hours, it’s a long film, and it doesn’t pass the watch test. Sorry, it just doesn’t. There actually seems to be two films here really, you could definitely separate it right before Django goes searching for his lost wife, but I don’t know if the movie could have survived splitting into two parts.
What really strikes me about Django Unchained though, is that it’s a fun movie. Tarantino has rediscovered that balance of gritty grindhouse and retro styling and fun filmmaking and I for one and thrilled. It’s honestly one of his best films, and a perfect example of what I love about his storytelling when it’s done right.