Django Unchained is 2012 revenge flick by Quentin Tarantino. Tarantino also has a cameo as one of the LeQuint Dickey Mining Company employees at the very end.
7 out of 10 stars. As revenge flicks go, this is pretty good, but the special effects were over the top which is characteristic of Quentin Tarantino films.
The film takes place in 1858, two years before the Civil War, in Texas and is about two bounty hunters who do very well for themselves until they go to Mississippi.
As the film begins, four men on horseback are leading a group of Negro slaves in chains through the woods. Then along comes a little German guy in a dentist’s wagon. He asks the Negros if any of them are familiar with the Brittle Brothers. And one of them says yes. So the little German guy walks closer and asks the Negro to describe the brothers. The Negro slave describes Big John, Ellis, and Roger “Little Raj” Brittle. The little German guy buys the Negro slave from the slave traders, but a fight ensues and the little German guy shoots two of the slave traders dead and leaves the third trapped under his horse. He tells the Negro slave his is now a free man and suggests he gets the warm coat from one of the dead men so he doesn’t freeze. This is the beginning of a wonderful partnership between the German guy, King Schulz (played by Christoph Waltz), and the Negro slave, Django (played by Jamie Foxx).
From the very beginning, Schulz is charming. He hates slavery and he loves killing bad men. He’s also incredibly smart. He treats Django like an equal which is a completely new experience for Django.
They find the Brittle brothers, kill them, and collect the bounty. That night, the plantation owner whom the Brittle brothers worked for (Big Daddy Bennett played by Don Johnson) gathers together his KKK group and goes after Schulz and Django. But Schultz and Django have laid a trap for them and after Big Daddy is killed the rest run away.
They become equal partners and spend the winter killing bad guys. And Django confides in Schulz that he has a wife, Broomhilda, who speaks German, so Schulz, kind and intelligent man that he is, begins searching for her. He finds her on a particularly brutal plantation owned by Calvin Candie (played by Leonardo DiCaprio) which gives the plantation it’s nickname Candyland.
Schultz explains to Django that they can’t just walk in and buy Hildi because Candie is ruthless. They’ll have to pretend they’re buying something else and make Candie an offer he can’t refuse so that selling Hildi will be incidental to the other sale. Since Candie buys slaves as Mandingo fighters who fight to the death, they decide to approach Candie on the pretense of buying one of his Mandingo fighters.
From the very beginning, they realize they’re not in Kansas anymore. Candie is ruthless. Right off the bat he brutally kills a slave in front of them by allowing him to be eaten by his pack of vicious dogs. This event disturbs Schulz terribly. In fact, he never gets over it. But they play along and are eventually in the big house having dinner with Candie and his family. Hildie is brought in to entertain Schulz because she speaks German.
Here’s where the plan goes awry. Candie has an Uncle Tom slave, that’s a Negro slave who turns in the other slaves and uses them for his own advancement. His name is Stephen and he’s played by Samuel L Jackson. And Stephen is ruthless. He sees a look pass between Hildi and Django and knows right away that they’re acquainted with each other. So he tells Candie that the purchase of the Mandingo fighter is a ruse and they’re really after Hildi. Candi holds Hildi down and counts down ten seconds to bashing her brain in with a hammer unless Schulz pays him $12,000 for Hildi instead of the Mandingo fighter. Schultz agrees and pays him the $12,000. Candi signs a bill of sale and Hildi is theirs.
As they are leaving, Candie demands a handshake. And Schulz just can’t do that. He’s not about to shake the hand of a man who released his dogs to eat a man alive. Schultz also points out that Candie’s favorite author, Alexandre Dumas is black. Candie insists and Schultz shoots him. Then it becomes a free for all with everyone shooting. Schulz is fatally shot, Django is captured and sold back into slavery to the LeQuint Dickey Mining Company, and Hildi is locked in an outer building awaiting her punishment.
As the LeQuint Dickey guys are taking Django away in a cage he tells one of them all about the bounties on the dangerous criminals back on Candie’s plantation. There aren’t any. He’s making up the names, but since everyone knows he and Schultz were bounty hunters, they believe it and want to get rich. They free Django and he immediately kills the three of them. Then he heads back to the Candie plantation with dynamite from the LeQuint Dickey guys.
Django hits the bunkhouse first. This is where the nine or so men who beat the slaves sleep. They’re also the ones who released the dogs to eat that Mandingo fighter. Then Django heads to the out building where they’re holding Hildi and sets her free. His last stop is the house where he kneecaps Stephen and blows up the house with everyone inside. 🙂
Django and Hildi ride away.
7 out of 10 stars. It would’ve been much better had Schultz survived. He was my favorite character.