Django Unchained

Friday 4 January 2013, 12:14

Mark Kermode Mark Kermode

Here is my very first response to Django Unchained - the new film from Quentin Tarantino.

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  • rate this
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    Comment number 1.

    Sounds from the review like it's a normal Tarantino film, overstretched but generally enjoyable, with great characters. Very much looking forward to it.

    Glad Quention Tarantino isn't in it too much though. Whenever he comes on it's slightly awkward.

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    Comment number 2.

    I do long for the warly days, when his films were pacey and every scene was vital. Recently watched Kill Bill Vol. 2 again and realised it really is not a good film, especially for fans of the first one. I did enjoy Inglourious but also thought it was too long, so not sure what I'll think of Django.

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    Comment number 3.

    I was a big Tarantino fan in the days of Pulp Fiction and, especially, True Romance, but I think Will Self hit the nail on the head when he described him as a pasticheur.

    Films should be about reality made into a narrative; Tarantino just takes bits from other narratives and plays with them. He knows little about reality; everything he knows he got from other films.

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    Comment number 4.

    For me this was a complete and utter surprise of a movie. I disagree with the good doctor on the length of the movie. I did not see that time go by whatsoever. It whipped by so fast that I didn't notice it. The Dr seems to have a problem with the length of movies these days; is this the new 3D rant?

    A good movie is no longer or shorter than it needs to be.

    As for the racial issues and the "n" word ... that was played beautifully. It was completely in line with the context of the movie and time. When we watched the movie on the second day of release, we were literally one of maybe 10 "white" people in there. The usual TylerPerry trailers before hand definitely played to the audience. But the whole place lit up with laughter and applause.

    Yes applause. This only the second time this year I have had the honor of being in a room where people clapped (LesMiserables was the other one - but that was to be expected).

    This movie made it to the top of the year for me, with only days left.

    (interestingly i am not allow to write the "ginger" word on the BBC site here has it seen as profanity)

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    Comment number 5.

    With regards to the "n-word" watch this.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dF1NUposXVQ

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    Comment number 6.

    First of all Mark you should of shaved and second thing is that Tarantino is a B movie director and everyone made a mistake after seeing Pulp Fiction thinking now this is A call movie and Tarantino have arrived, but the truth is that that also was a B movie and as long as you expect him to move on the more you will find your self disappointed because he will still make B movies while you expect A movie.

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    Comment number 7.

    I'm worried that you identify Django's problems as similar to Inglorious. I was also underwhelmed by Inglorious... enthralled by two or three of the set-pieces, but bored by much of the rest, and annoyed with some of QT's tics (the cookie cutter soundtrack, pointless anachronistic vamping Bowie's Putting Out Fire(cat people), the W T F historical left-turn). I rewatched it last week, and found myself at once more forgiving its weaknesses, but less grabbed by the good bits, apart from the Fassbinder turn. It's so ho-hum, I now think I enjoyed Death Proof more, I can't understand why it is so overrated, particularly by friends who should know better.

    I don't wish ill on QT, but he needs the right kind of failure to make him re-evaluate his playbook. Otherwise, like Woody Allen whose producers have indulged him for two decades, he will continue to churn out the same films about films with levels of fanboy inflection running the gamut to endearing to infuriating. Those critics gave short shrift to QT's most mature film, Jackie Brown, should be forced to see all his output since back to back to know what they wrought. Now he will exaggerate his worst tendencies to feed his own fan boy fan base which will guarantee his viability without requiring improvement.

    Clearly, we are all victims of Quentin Tarentino's success.

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    Comment number 8.

    When i heard that Dr K was doing an instant response blog for the new Tarantino film, i thought what would he likely say "over long, self indulgent but with some flashes of genius" and sure enough Quentin conforms to type. Tarantino's films are self indulgent because Harvey Weinstein is willing to indulge him. What Quentin needs to do is work as a gun for hire in television where they have tight schedules and fixed running times and remember how to make lean mean films. CSI Grave Danger worked so well because the constraints of the medium imposed discipline on him and no one was willing to indulge an 'auteur'.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 9.

    Response to Comment 8:

    Harry Limes Shadow is absolutely right. Tarantino needs the discipline to stop being self indulgent, his films have gone from being the work of a young wunderkind to an old and bloated has been that has intertextual references to other cult and exploitation films as a way to disguise the vast vaccum that his work has become. Not all films referencing past films have to be so self indulgent, take for example Drive, a film that tried to convey a flimsy and often told story into something different and in some ways it succeeded. I wonder why Tarantino is not a fan?

  • rate this
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    Comment number 10.

    so many films were 3 hours this year (tdkr/cloud atlas/thehobbit)- so dumb

    no film should be longer than 2 hours

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    Comment number 11.

    QT is Seth MacFarlane on steroids.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 12.

    QT will never get better unless someone administers a course of Ritalin and week's worth of Ingmar Bergman movies.

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    Comment number 13.

    Everything from Reservoir Dogs to Jackie Brown are excellent, a director at the top of his game. I still thik Jackie Brown is his best film to date. I know that's not a popular opinion but it's an amazing piece of work. The Rot basically set in after this. Kill Bill 1 was just fairly good, with some good set pieces and a plot that owes a lot to Lady Snowblood. Kill Bill 2 was fairly poor and overstretched. Death Proof was terrible. Tarantino always writes good dialogue but the stuff in DP was boring to the point of nausea. I actually thought he got things back on track with Inglorious basterds and by far his best film since Jackie Brown. I'm a big lover of spaghetti westerns, so am really looking forward to This film. Fingers crossed.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 14.

    Wish you luck?? You're going to a press screening freebie, not base jumping off the Shard.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 15.

    Mark Kermode is always dubious about films over 1 hour 40 minutes but having seen End of Watch it made me realise how much cinema is falling behind very cinematic cable dramas from the likes of HBO which also have time to develop character and multiple storylines. I don't doubt that this latest Tarantino flick has a lot of empty space but films are falling behind on every level and will need longer lengths to catch up with something like the Shield, Game of Thrones or the Borgias for example.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 16.

    The comments above are spot on about Tarantino needing to be reigned in.
    Also is there any real reason this is a "Django" movie other than the cult cache( Can anything be considered cult these days when virtually everything is available on the high street, thats a whole other post,sorry)
    I didn't see any coffins, mud or gatling guns in the trailer.
    Might folks react differently if they didn't have to buy in/ be told in reviews what the references are ?
    They might actually enjoy some of the original films he ripped...sorry paid homage to in their own right, they'd certainly be shorter.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 17.

    Tarantino basically seems to be going straight to the unnecessarily indulgent director's cut (or "Redux", as Francis Ford Coppola neatly put it ;-) )

    Maybe in ten years time he will come back and in a kind of anti-director's cut, realise the errors of his ways and prune his recent work down. Thus creating something closer taught exciting films he made in his earlier days. After all, they still seem to be in there, trying desperately to escape from all the unnecessary flab.

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    Comment number 18.

    Sad to hear comparisons to Inglorious as i was expecting more from this.

    I have the same problem with Inglorious as i do Quantum of Solace, i've seen them both twice but can't remember most of what happened in the film

  • rate this
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    Comment number 19.

    I agree totally with Russell above #13:

    “Everything from Reservoir Dogs to Jackie Brown are excellent, a director at the top of his game. I still think Jackie Brown is his best film to date. I know that's not a popular opinion but it's an amazing piece of work. The Rot basically set in after this.”

    I really haven’t liked anything Tarantino has done since Jackie Brown.

    But how many other directors/actors/writers (or bands/singers etc) can this also be applied to? Their best work is the early work. A great many.

    I haven’t seen Django yet, but it sounds like a Tarantino spaghetti western/Blaxploitation mash up. Given his fondness for both I’m not surprised it might be good - in parts; but Tarantino is a rip off artist of lesser well know films par excellence.
    Yet again he features tracks by Morricone. (Why not get him to do a score if you admire him so much? And Morricone is great.)

    I live in hope that Tarantino might get over his indulgences of youth and ego and one day deliver something really special.

    But then again, a while ago, after their first few films, people also thought that Orson Welles, Coppola, Bogdanovich, Friedkin, Truffaut, Goddard etc, etc would do the same.
    Their best was their early work. Few directors (or actors) make a lifelong career worth following.

    This could be a good topic for a thread. (Our favourite ,most successful directors.)

  • rate this
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    Comment number 20.

    His main critique seems to again be the fact that Tarantino should be more disciplined and cut more in the editing. But what if we were to actually get that shorter, trimmed version of this film? In one sense it would be better then but what about how Tarantino handles the subject of slavery in this film? What about how he presents the violence in this film? It is controversial with quite a few people making comments on this saying it is problematic. I wonder if he will say anything about that in his review.

 

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Outspoken, opinionated and never lost for words, Mark is the UK's leading film critic.

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