First Hit: Visually strong and arresting, crisp action, good story and great acting.
The story is about a slave named Django (played by Jamie Foxx) who is rescued from slavery by a dentist turned bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz (played by Christoph Waltz). He saves him because Django knows the faces of Shultz’s next bounty.
Django is good as his partner and they work together as bounty hunters through the winter with a promise by Shultz to assist Django in finding his enslaved wife Broomhilda (Kerry Washington). Broomhilda is enslaved by Calvin Candie (played by Leonard DiCaprio) who has a wizened and manipulative house slave Stephen (Samuel L. Jackson).
That’s the premise and along their journey there is enough of a story to set up backgrounds and motivations for each of the characters. The funny moments are truly funny. The violent bloody moments are true Tarantino blood baths.
The story and characters were wonderfully conceived and delivered.
Foxx is absolutely delivers a very strong performance as the enslaved and now free Django. Waltz is superior and excellent in his role and delivers some of the best lines in the film. Washington is sublime as the comfort slave with an unending spirit to live her life fully. DiCaprio is surprisingly and excellently nice, crude, and mean as the owner of the largest slave plantation. Jackson is beyond sublime as the wizened house slave. His ability to show both control (drinking a drink in the library room) and subservience was amazing. When he is on the screen you have to watch him. Quentin Tarantino wrote a tight, engaging and expressive script and his direction was flawless.
Overall: This film is one of Quentin Tarantino’s best efforts as writer and director.