Belated Film Review: Leonardo DiCaprio Dominates ‘Django Unchained’

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by Connor Foote

Lotus Land Correspondent, White Cover Magazine

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The thing about movies with an audience like Django Unchained‘s — including all of those who haven’t seen but just heard about it from the mouth of Spike Lee — is that it has this way of making you forget a time when it didn’t exist.

It’s been so popular and taken up so much of our “curiosity” and “attention”, that the real themes and Tarantino-esque quips of the movies are lost within the lines.

There are moments. The rap music that blasts as the crew travels to Candie Land. The way the word MISSISSIPPI scrolls across the screen in giant white text about an hour in. The Australian Outback hat that Jamie Foxx wears, which is an underrated little flick of Quentin’s wrist next to the blue number he wears at Don Johnson’s house.

And then, there is Leonardo DiCaprio. For all the talk of Christoph Waltz — and the hardware, too — the movie doesn’t really begin until Jack Dawson struts on screen.

Rather, sits on screen.

Suddenly, they’re playing for keeps. Suddenly, they’ve come face-to-face with the evilest character to grace a movie screen in recent memory. Everything he does — whether it’s actually ordering a condescending murder of one of his slaves by the teeth of his own dogs, or whether it’s insultingly describing the African-American race as an entire breed of people who are only capable of creativity by the 1 in the 10,000 (and it’s the way he treats this little omission like he’s being kind that really makes your soul cringe) — is despicable. It’s vile. It’s violent and it’s… well, it’s more terrible than words can describe, isn’t it?

DiCaprio’s Calvin Candie is nothing like Waltz’s Jew Hunter.

The Austrian’s character in Inglorious Basterds was on the wrong side and murderous in his actions, but there was always a sense of playfulness to him. Maybe even a little compassion and regret. Tarantino has a way of making movies that lead you to compliment Nazis, but in that case Waltz’s man’s sins weren’t personal. They were a flaw in the system. They made him one of many who wore a Swastika without any real allegiance to its symbol.

In Django, DiCaprio is the ring leader. He’s the source. He’s the earwig.

In Django, we’ve gone all the way to the very bottom. We haven’t found the villains like we did in Lincoln — the ones who debated against abolishing slavery in the American House of Representatives.

No. In Django, we’ve found the guys who made it personal.