LimeRant #1 – Django Unchained – Spoiler Alert!


For this rant you will need the following:

  1. A bottle of your favourite tasty beverage
  2. A shot glass
  3. An iPod (0r its non-Apple equivalent) containing the Django Unchained soundtrack

Sit back, pour yourself a shot. Get comfy. Now, every time the word “Django” is mentioned in this rant, or you hear the word “Django” on the soundtrack, take a shot. Every time the word “Tarantino” or a title of one of his movies is mentioned, take a shot. Is everybody ready? Press play on the soundtrack, and lets begin.


There’s an indescribable excitement that comes with the announcement of a new Tarantino project. Anyone who frequents IMDB knows that Inglorious Basterds was listed forever, its release date shifting constantly. When it came in August of 2009, expectations were high. It’s opening scene, and I will be accused of gushing here, is one of the finest openings to a movie I have ever seen. If the film had ended at the twenty minute mark, it may have won an Academy Award for best live action short. The scene announced the arrival of Chistoph Waltz (at least an English speaking arrival) who turned in an Oscar winning performance as Col. Hans Landa. If you haven’t seen it and you only need one reason, Waltz is it. In 2011, Django Unchained was announced with rumors that Will Smith would take the title role. Smith decided against it. Jamie Foxx stepped in, and now it seems impossible that Smith was even considered. When the trailer was released in May 2012, Christmas Day seemed a long way away. When it finally came, Django became Tarantino’s biggest opening to date.

It’s 1858, two years before the civil war. German bounty hunter Dr King Schultz (Waltz) is looking for someone who can help ID the Brittle Brothers, his latest bounty. Django, a former resident of the plantation where the brothers were once overseers, is just the man for the job. After acquiring Django in a showdown reminiscent of “The Wild Bunch”, (Put that shot glass down – that’s NOT a Tarantino (now you can take a shot) movie), Dr Schultz agrees to free Django once the bounty is fulfilled and help him track down his wife, Broomhilda. She is the property of Calvin Candie, the ruthless owner of plantation Candie Land. He’s the man you’ve gotta see if you want to get into the Mandingo fighting game. Here’s the play. Offer Candie an obscene amount of green for one of your Mandingo fighters, and then casually drop into the conversation that Broomhilda catches your eye too.

We follow Django and Doctor Schultz through a winter full of bounties until they head for Candie Land. Along the way, we’re introduced to Tarantino’s usual cast of colourful (no pun intended – and American readers should take note that the British spelling of Colour was intended) characters. His ear for banter has never been sharper, and his casting of DiCaprio as Candie was a masterstroke. DiCaprio relishes his turn as a bad guy, playing with such conviction it’s scary. Take note of the scene when Candie realizes he’s being played. He slams his hand against the table with such force he smashes a glass in the process. DiCapario sliced his hand during the take but continued without breaking character. Knowing that adds an extra layer for me as not breaking character is a central importance to the story.


Samuel L. Jackson can’t be overlooked as Candie Land’s head house, er, well, lets just call him the head of house. Stephen is a 19th century southerner through and through. The only thing lower than a man in his shoes is a black slaver. It doesn’t take long to see why. Acting as Candie’s eyes and ears, he’s the man on the inside. His loyalty is only to Candie; it’s plain to see where his bread and butter comes from. Stephen has some of the best lines, and Jackson’s performance is pitch perfect. What Stephen does is deplorable, yet he’s very good at it. Always watching, and calculating, but never forgetting his place as far as Candie is concerned.

There are few people that can deliver Tarantino dialogue as well as Jackson. Waltz would be a close second. The sign of a true performer is to trust the material enough that there’s no need for ego. It’s all on the page for you. Every word, comma, full stop and pause is there for a reason. The Coen Bother’s Fargo is a perfect example as Peter Stormare asks Steve Buscemi “Where is pancakes house”  On the first take, Stormare said “Where is the pancake house” only to be told there are no typos in a Coen Brothers script.

If I had a problem with Django Unchained, it’s what I call the third and a half act as Django is sold to the LeQuint Dickey Mining Co. At this point in the movie we know where we’re heading, and rather than tighten it up a little, it seems to be an unnecessary turn away from the ending. Also, Mr Tarantino spouts the most awful Australian accent ever committed to celluloid. By the time we get to where we’re going, it seems like overkill – if there is such thing as over-killing in a Tarantino flick.

Django Unchained is Tarantino’s love letter to the western – even though he calls it a southern. Is it perfect? So close, but close enough to say yes! Passionate directors show their love for the film, and for their genre from the opening frame. Opening with the strings of Luis Bacalov’s “Django” from the 1966 movie of the same name, you know what you’re in for. Robert Richardson’s cinematography adds to the tone, while highlighting J. Michael Riva’s production design. Fred Raskin rounds out the package, has first time having full editor’s credit after Tarantino’s regular collaborator Sally Menke passed away unexpectedly in 2010. He does a great job, though I sensed a “What would Sally do?” presence in the cutting. Trust me, that’s no bad thing. Django Unchained owes a lot of its style to Sergio Leone – intentionally so. The undeniable fact is if you love cinema, you can’t help but borrow from those who have gone before you. Some critics have always had a problem with Quentin’s borrowing, even borrowing soundtracks from other movies. They don’t get it. To rip something off is one thing, but to respect the material while bringing something of yours is the ultimate homage.

I’d like to end my first LimeRant with something I wanted to entitle “In defense of Tarantino” I decided against it. Let’s face it, Quentin doesn’t need defending. There’s enough ego in the mans DNA that he can take care of himself. I will however say this. I’ve taken great pains not to use a word that is uttered 111 times during Django’s 145 minute run time. If we know anything of this writer/director, it’s that he knows language. He knows when and how to use it. This is a story set in the south 2 years before the civil war. I’m sure that word was said once or twice. Why are people so upset? A certain director who shall remain nameless (a good one too  – credit where credit is due and by the way, this nameless director refers to his movies as “Joints”) has been on Tarantino for his frequent used of the, let’s just call it, “naughty”word. Has anyone ever tallied the usage in the unnamed director’s flicks? It would be high. A bit of a double standard me thinks. In his Tarantino biography”Shooting from the Hip”, Wesley Clarkson notes that Quentin spent a lot of his young life around people of colour. Also, check out his screenwriters commentary track for True Romance, he reveals the origins of the “Moors conquering Sicily” speech. The point is – this isn’t some racist for racists sake piece; Is it glorified a little? Yes. Well, every film maker in the word is guilty of that.

 The question is, how many shots did you have in the course of this review. You could win a $10 AMC Gift card. Nearest answer wins!

Rant Rules

Open to US residents (citizens and Green Card holders) only

1 answer post per user

Judges decison is final.

Gift card will re recied by email after 5/26

Closing date is 5/26/2013

Good luck.


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