Weeks before its official release on Christmas Day, the first reviews for “Django Unchained,” Quentin Tarantino’s latest tale of revisionist historical justice, hit the Web last night, and it looks like fans of the writer-director will not be disappointed when Jamie Foxx rides onto screens later this month.
Garnering as many comparisons to “Blazing Saddles” as to Tarantino’s previous film, “Inglourious Basterds,” “Django Unchained” is an irreverent, but uncompromising look at American history through the lens of a spaghetti western, and the critics are eating it up.
“Django (Jamie Foxx) is a slave in the American South a few years before the Civil War, where he’s purchased by a flamboyant bounty hunter named Dr. King Schultz (‘Inglourious Basterds’ ‘ Christoph Waltz). Schultz is on the trail of a trio of outlaws and Django has the information he needs to find them, so the German former dentist offers him his freedom in exchange for his help. Initially, their relationship is intended to last just the one job, but Django proves himself such a natural bounty hunter that Schultz decides to make him a full partner in his operation — and to help him track down and rescue his wife Broomhilda (Kerry Washington), who has been sold at slave auction to brutal plantation owner Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio).”— Matt Singer, Screen Crush
“Tarantino’s affinity for black culture and interest in the ways blacks and whites relate have always been evident, but they’ve never before been front and center to the extent that they are in ‘Django Unchained.’ Some might object to the writer-director’s tone, historical liberties, comic japes or other issues, but there can be no question who gets the shaft here: This is a story of justifiable vengeance, pure and simple, and no paleface is spared, even the good German who facilitates a slave’s transformation into a take-no-prisoners hunter of whites who trade in black flesh.” — Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter
“The first section of the film is just about the slowly-evolving trust between Schultz and Django, and while I had some hesitations about Jamie Foxx before I saw the film, both he and Waltz are absolutely delightful. My fear about Foxx was that he is a very contemporary actor. My fear turned out to be totally unfounded, though, because he effortlessly dropped everything modern so that he could step into the best-written character of his career.” — Drew McWeeny, HitFix
The Run Time
“My only real gripe with the film is its length. It runs 160 minutes, but drags a bit near the end of the second act, especially after a shootout that would have been the climax of any other western. It’s also during this minor lull that Tarantino makes a distracting and self-indulgent cameo. These gripes aside, though, ‘Django Unchained’ is a hell of a lot of fun and definitely a must-see in the theater.” — Jim Vejvoda, IGN
The Final Word
” ‘Django Unchained’ is a sharp shock of a film in an Awards season very full of movies so noble they become immobile. It’s wildly unlikely to get much love from the Academy, and that’s fine — bluntly, it’s too good for them. With its bloody stew of history and hysteria, action taken from movies and atrocities taken from fact, Django isn’t just a movie only America could make — it’s also a movie only America needs to.” — James Rocchi, BoxOffice.com
Check out everything we’ve got on “Django Unchained.”