Tarantino unchained

Quentin Tarantino lays the same foundation in each of his motion pictures; a healthy amount of ultra-violence, coarse language, and a bizarre, sometimes outrageous, sense of humor. For most filmmakers, repeatedly using the same outline for each of their movies would make their work become stale and repetitive. Tarantino, however, manages to bring something new to the table every single time.

“Django Unchained,” Tarantino’s big Christmas gift to us all, is certainly no exception. Based prior to the Civil War, the movie follows the story of Django, a slave played by Jamie Foxx who is purchased and freed by dentist turned bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz). Originally, Django is hired to locate the Brittle brothers, but he soon finds himself working with Schultz for the winter. Their partnership doesn’t end there, however, as Django, with the help of Schultz, goes on a quest to find Broomhilda (Kerry Washington), Django’s wife who he was separated from at a slave auction. Their journey leads them to Candie Land, home of Calvin Candie, a notorious plantation owner that is portrayed by Leonardo DiCaprio.

That’s only the tip of the iceberg, however. Django and Schultz’s clever ploy – they disguise themselves as customers interested in slave fighters – ultimately backfires when the wisecracking, head slave of Candie, Stephen (Samuel L. Jackson), reveals that the two aren’t interested in a fighter at all. The unfortunate turn of events sends you on a wild ride, with twists and turns aplenty, leading to a trademark Tarantino conclusion.

Tarantino’s distinct mark on the film, unfortunately, is the Achilles heel of the movie. “Django Unchained” will always be compared to Tarantino’s previous works, and rightfully so. Tarantino is a genre of his own, and there are not many films that can be compared to his. It is this that is the weakness and what ultimately hinders, albeit slightly, “Django Unchained” and all his other films. Despite their differences, “Django Unchained” will always be compared to “Inglourious Basterds.” “Reservoir Dogs” will go head-to-head with “Pulp Fiction.” “Kill Bill Vol. 1” will be matched with “Kill Bill Vol. 2” (maybe that’s a bad example).

Sure, there are some similarities between the films. “Django Unchained” and “Inglorious Basterds” both deal with oppression – slavery in 1800s America and anti-semitism in Nazi Germany – it is almost asinine to say “Inglourious Basterds” was the better film and not give “Django Unchained” the credit it deserves. Of course, neither of these films will live up to the granddaddy of them all, “Pulp Fiction,” but that’s neither here nor there.

It’s not wrong to compare Tarantino’s movies. What’s wrong is the comparisons make us forget how good one movie is because it’s shadowed by another, which brings up the question: why make comparisons? Let each Tarantino movie stand on its own. Give credit where credit is due, and quite frankly, “Django Unchained” deserves all the credit in the world. The performances of the star-studded cast (no actor outshines the other), the ridiculous violence, and breathtaking cinematography, among other things, all blend together to create a movie that should not be taken lightly come Oscar night. A movie that shouldn’t be compared to “Jackie Brown.”