WESTERN; 2hr 14min
STARRING: Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio
Dressed to kill: from left, Waltz and Foxx
So memorably sinister in Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds, Waltz is geniality itself as retired dentist and practising bounty hunter Dr King Schultz in QT’s latest idiosyncratic blast. Dr Schultz shoots to kill with the same self-possession with which he pours himself a beer. He’s a man accustomed to owning the moment, which makes him just about perfect for the cultural pastiche of Tarantino’s cheeky Sturm und Drang.
Django Unchained, in which Schultz and broody freed slave Django (Foxx) roam the American South, gunning down bad men for money, looks like a mad cross between a big-deal western and a balls-out slave drama (it’s set two years before the American Civil War). The theatrical take, however, is soup-to-nuts Tarantino. And so it is that Django and Schultz fetch up in Mississippi, where Django’s wife, Broomhilda (Kerry Washington), is enslaved by a gentleman with marked sadistic leanings (DiCaprio, letting it rip as Calvin Candie). Their plan is to rescue her, which takes extreme guile, and, naturally, a cast-iron stomach: the climactic showdown in Candie’s lavishly decked-out mansion builds with fabulous gravitas from offbeat to off-the-charts. It’s juicy, bloody and altogether unreal.