Django Unchained – American Western Film
Django Unchained (/ˈdʒæŋɡoʊ/, jang-goh) is a 2012 American western film written and directed by Quentin Tarantino. Set in the Old West and Antebellum South, it is a highly stylized variation of the spaghetti Western. The film stars Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kerry Washington, and Samuel L. Jackson.
The story is set in early winter and the following spring, during the antebellum era of the Deep South, with preliminary scenes taking place in Old West Texas. The film follows Django (Foxx), an African-American slave, and Dr. King Schultz (Waltz), an English-speaking German bounty hunter posing as a traveling dentist. Schultz buys and then promises to free Django in exchange for his help in collecting a large bounty on three outlaws. Schultz subsequently promises to teach Django bounty hunting, and split the bounties with him, if Django assists him in hunting down other outlaws throughout the winter. He further offers to help Django to locate and free his long-lost wife (Washington) from her cruel plantation owner (DiCaprio).
The film was a major critical and commercial success and was nominated for several film industry awards, including five Academy Awards. Waltz won several awards for his performance, among them Best Supporting Actor at the Golden Globes, BAFTAs, and Academy Awards. Tarantino won an Academy Award, a Golden Globe, and a BAFTA award for writing the film’s original screenplay. The film grossed over $425 million worldwide in theaters against its $100 million budget, making it Tarantino’s highest-grossing theatrical release.
In Texas 1858, the Speck brothers, Ace and Dicky, drive African-American slaves on foot. Among the shackled slaves is Django, sold off and separated from his wife, Broomhilda von Shaft. The Speck brothers are stopped by Dr. King Schultz, a German ex-dentist and bounty hunter from Düsseldorf, Prussia. Schultz asks to buy one of the slaves; when he questions Django about his knowledge of the Brittle brothers, for whom Schultz is carrying a warrant, Ace becomes irritated and aims his shotgun at Schultz. Schultz quickly kills Ace and leaves Dicky at the mercy of the newly freed slaves, who shoot Dicky in the head.
Django can identify the Brittle brothers, so Schultz offers Django his freedom in exchange for help tracking them down. After executing the Brittles, now Django Freeman partners with Schultz through the winter and becomes his apprentice. Schultz discovers that Django has a natural ability with a gun and is an incredibly accurate shot. Schultz explains that he feels responsible for Django, since he is the first person he has ever freed, and offers to help Django reunite with and free Broomhilda. Django, now fully trained, collects his first bounty, keeping the handbill for good luck.
In spring 1859, Django and Schultz travel to Mississippi where they learn the identity of Broomhilda’s owner: Calvin J. Candie, the charming but brutal owner of the Candyland plantation, where slaves are forced to fight to the death in wrestling matches called “Mandingo fights”. Schultz, expecting Candie will not sell Broomhilda if they ask for her directly, feigns interest in purchasing one of Candie’s prized fighters for far more than the normal price. Schultz and Django meet Candie at his gentleman’s club in Greenville and submit their offer. Intrigued, Candie invites them to Candyland. After secretly briefing Broomhilda, Schultz claims to be charmed by the German-speaking Broomhilda and offers to buy her.
During dinner, Candie’s staunchly loyal house slave, Stephen, becomes suspicious. Deducing that Django and Broomhilda know each other and that the sale of the Mandingo fighter is misdirection, Stephen alerts Candie and admonishes him for his greed. Candie is angered at being fooled and having his time wasted, but contains his anger long enough to theatrically display his knowledge of phrenology, which he uses to explain why the slaves have failed to kill their oppressors, despite ample opportunity.
Candie’s bodyguard, Butch Pooch, bursts into the room with his shotgun trained on the two bounty hunters, and Candie explodes in anger, threatening to kill Broomhilda. He offers an alteration of the original deal, with Broomhilda taking the Mandingo fighter’s place at the same price, and threatens her death, should the deal be rejected. After business appears concluded, Candie insists that the deal be sealed through a hand-shake, which Schultz initially refuses. Eventually Schultz appears to concede, but instead kills Candie with a concealed derringer. Schultz is killed by Butch and Django kills him in turn. An extensive gunfight between Django and Candie’s henchmen ensues. Django guns down a great number of his opponents, but surrenders when Broomhilda is taken hostage.
The next morning, Stephen tells Django that he will be sold to a mine and worked to death. En route to the mine, Django proves to his dim-witted Australian escorts that he is a bounty hunter by showing them the handbill from his first kill. He convinces them that there is a large bounty for criminals hiding at Candyland, and promises that they would receive the majority of the money. The escorts release him and give him a pistol; he kills them before stealing a horse and returning to Candyland.
Returning to the plantation, Django kills more of Candie’s henchmen, takes Broomhilda’s freedom papers from the dead Schultz’s pocket, bids goodbye to his friend and frees Broomhilda from a nearby cabin. When Candie’s mourners return from his burial, Django kills the remaining henchmen and Candie’s sister Lara Lee Candie-Fitzwilly, releases the two remaining house slaves, and kneecaps Stephen. Django ignites dynamite that he has planted throughout the mansion, and he and Broomhilda watch from a distance as the mansion explodes, killing Stephen, before riding off together.