Tarantino gives viewers another wild ride with “Django Unchained”

Colin Gregory, Staff Writer

Audacious, bold, and way over the top, “Django Unchained” is the newest masterpiece from Quentin Tarantino.
Headlined by an all-star cast, and crackling with an energy that only Tarantino can muster, Django is a wild ride.
Let’s start with the downside: It’s too long, and works better as a compilation of individual scenes rather than a single film.
Deal with it.
Inconsistencies are bound to happen when there’s such a smorgasbord of genres and styles in one movie — and there’s little to gripe about anyway, as those scenes play out incredibly well. Crackling with hilarious, whip-smart dialogue, “Django Unchained” is one hell of an entertaining trip to the movies.
Django (Jamie Foxx) is freed and turned into a bounty hunter by Schultz (Christoph Waltz). Because Django helps Schultz identify and find one of his targets, Schultz agrees to help Django find and free his wife, who is enslaved on the plantation of Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio).
Waltz, an Academy Award winner for his stellar work in this film, is terrific and funny in ways you don’t see coming. A master at deadpan, Waltz won a golden statue the last time he was in a Tarantino film for his remarkable turn in “Inglourious Basterds.” Though he’s playing a completely different character here, he brings a similar zeal to Tarantino’s screenplay.
As for DiCaprio, it’s a crying shame that he, playing the bad guy for once, didn’t at least garner a nomination. He’s cunning, fearsome, and makes you believe that he is truly inherently wicked. Acting of the highest order, indeed.
And then there’s Django. With all the flashy characters around him, including Samuel L. Jackson’s phenomenal turn as an Uncle Tom-type character, Foxx stays dead serious. A performance like his is easy to lose in the noise, but pay attention– you’ll see something great.
Aside from the pitch-perfect performances and the technical proficiency that can be expected from a Tarantino film, “Django Unchained” has something about it that is undeniably unique.
This bold originality starts and ends with the director.
Follow Tarantino, and he’ll lead you to spurts of blood and bouts of brutality that you’d rather not see. A scene where a pack of dogs tear apart a slave who attempts to flee springs to mind.
But he’ll also lead you to immersive and instantly watchable filmmaking  — something rarely seen these days. Sometimes we need someone to push the boundaries of what may or may not be over the top.
While “Django Unchained” is definitely over the top, it wouldn’t be a Tarantino film if it wasn’t.
Is it Tarantino’s best? Not a chance. In my opinion, he’ll never top his first two films, “Pulp Fiction,” and “Reservoir Dogs.”
But Django Unchained is still as entertaining as movies come.
It seeks not to pander to what audiences want to see, but to challenge, offend, and, above all, spur thought and conversation. Hats off.