Quentin Tarantino is back again with yet another scrappy yet captivating ode to genre cinema of years past, this time with his love letter to westerns, Django Unchained. After previously tackling the “Macaroni Combat” genre of WW2 films with Inglorious Basterds, he’s gone to the opposite end of old italian cinema and is diving headfirst into bringing his own personal spaghetti western for all of us. The plot is fairly simple and by the numbers: Slave gets freed by bounty hunter, bounty hunter teaches a slave to bounty hunt, slave vows to find his wife who is being held at a sadistic slave ranch, BUT slave ranch holds slave battles ran Thunderdome style by cruel slave owner! Will he get her back? You know, the usual sort of stuff you see in every western.
Great, but how do I get this shot of the gun to be an ‘homage”?
If it wasn’t apparent, the cast is typical Quentin Tarantino “Weird-at-first-but-actually-works.” style casting, with Jamie Foxx as the titular Django, Christoph Waltz as the bounty hunter, and Leonardo DiCaprio as the slave ranch owner, who is named, no kidding, Calvin Candy. That slave ranch? Candyland.
No wives until you escape the chocolate swamp!
Overall I’m excited for the movie, because westerns are great, and spaghetti westerns are always something special. It stands to reason that QT seems intent on trying really really hard to emulate Sergio Leone with his last few movies, and whether or not he’ll be successful is really up to how the whole thing comes together. I’mma homage you so hard… I’mma homage you so hard… Inglorious Basterds, while entertaining, was a movie that was definitely less than the sum of its parts, but its opening scene was classic Leone emulation, right down to the fitting Morricone soundtrack. Granted it’s easy to make anything seem epic and grandiose with that man’s score, but it was one solid, perfect nugget of gold in that movie that absolutely worked perfectly. If Django Unchained can be a whole movie like that scene, it’ll become one of the very best modern westerns of all time, if not though… well we’ll see. Who am I kidding, I know come December 25, I’ll be heading to see it with Christmas cash in tow.
I’mma homage you so hard…