Django Unchained Review

The release of Django Unchained was on the night that Belfast broke down completely from snow. Nonetheless, I battled my way down the windy, slush drenched streets of Belfast to the cinema with such fervour, that I had the vague feeling Tarantino should be making a film out of it instead. I joined a crowd of other snow drenched, avid Tarantino fans and we were not disappointed.
Set two years before the Civil War in America, with Django Unchained, Tarantino goes down the same path as he did with his previous film Inglourious Basterds in that, he is remaking history through film in a sense. He produces his own take on history and as you sit watching the film, infused with obligatory shootings and that sharp witted humour, you are aware of how true Tarantino has remained to his own cinematic style. His personality and love of film really comes through during Django Unchained and you can almost tell how much fun he must have had in the making of it. The film follows in the path of Django and German Dr Schultz who travel America, in true Tarantino style, following and killing bad guys to make a living. Django being a freed black slave, he has had a painful past, the scars on his back serving as visible evidence. His true motive throughout the film is to find his wife who is also in slavery and of course this would be no easy battle. Tarantino brings us on a journey filled with hope for Django, who through his newly acquired freedom, becomes a ruthless killer with no fear. Through his epic journey, there are points where all hope is lost yet is turned back round often in a flurry of bullets. The death toll in the course of Django Unchained would most definitely be into double figures and at times it seems that Django and Dr Schultz achieve the impossible, but Tarantino produces it in such an entertaining, edge-of-your-seat manner that plains of true common sense within the film cease to be important. We are brought back the mentality of rooting for the good guy no matter what the cost.
As with all Tarantino films, Django Unchained has an incredible soundtrack, with some songs written for the purpose of the film itself, something which Tarantino hasn’t done before. The audience can see how central the soundtrack is to the shaping of the film with the opening credits of ‘Django’ by Luis Bacalov. There are few films where I am engrossed by the opening credits, Django Unchained however is one of these films.
Django Unchained does not disappoint. But is it everyone’s cup of tea however? That remains to be seen. Many would suggest that the amount of shootings and blood within the film is unneeded. However, Tarantino does not deviate from his classic style and as with any Tarantino film, you must be prepared to accept that: there will be blood. To think otherwise would almost be ludicrous.

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2013 the year of comebacks?

2013 has been hailed already as the year of musical comebacks, sparked by the return of David Bowie who had been musically dormant for almost a decade. He arrived back on the music scene with a new single “Where Are We Now?” And an album ready for release very soon. As one artist returns with a flurry of social networking tweets in his wake, other musicians and artists we haven’t heard from for years have followed in suit. But is this necessarily a good thing?

David Bowie’s new single “Where Are We Now?” has been released for a week now, and being predicted for number one it has in fact only reached number six in the charts, being held back by artists such as Taylor Swift, will.i.am and Calvin Harris. However, my Twitter and Facebook accounts were coloured with a flurry of posts describing the triumphant return of David Bowie. Indeed, the excitement concerning his sudden return created so much hype that it seemed inevitable he would reach number one. Leading to the question of whether the new single and musical comebacks in general are actually all that good?

Quite often I will pass through town on the bus and see advertisements for bands such as Thin Lizzy or W.A.S.P to name a couple of examples and think “hey didn’t they break up like 20 years ago?” It will almost irritate me because I know for a fact that Thin Lizzy, with two of the major band members now passed away, the band will never reach the heights of excellence which they did in the seventies. I almost wish that the band wouldn’t try to salvage the fame back again with the name of the band everyone knew and loved. I sometimes wish that bands and artists who have retired or broken up would stay that way, allowing us to remember them the way they were, their memories untarnished by what would be, let’s face it, an absolute anti climax to their hay days. So, I guess in this way I can be very sceptical of musical comebacks, almost in the same way that I detest tribute bands. For me, I want it to be the real thing that we love or nothing at all. And I guess this can be a pretty dismissive attitude but it has been the way I have thought for a while now.

So are these musical flops advertised on the walls of small time venues on the same level as the comebacks we are set to see in 2013, with the likes of David Bowie, Destiny’s Child, Justin Timberlake and My Bloody Valentine? I guess in many ways the answer would be no, but there is the potential for these musical comebacks to go so terribly wrong. Then we will remember all the great stuff and suddenly think “Oh wait, didn’t they have a musical comeback in 2013? Looks like that didn’t go too great.” Turning into one of those sad CDs we pass in Poundland or charity shops, the type that a person feels the overwhelming need to avert their eyes from. Indeed, that will be the memory we could potentially be left with. So, in short, musical artists take great risks when they decide to have a musical comeback, there is much more pressure to be great in the eyes of the public.

Only time will tell with the musical comebacks scheduled for 2013. The driving force of it all is really nostalgia, that excitement to have back the great David Bowie who, quite literally, coloured the 1970’s. Of course he won’t be the same, he is now in his sixties, artists cannot defy time and I think this needs to be remembered in light of musical comebacks. They have aged and they are entering into a new mature era of their musical careers so they aren’t going to be creating the same music they did in their twenties. And I think this is the mistake that a lot of people make, myself included, the idea that a musical comeback needs to be on the same level and style they were when they were young. Music and style evolves, musical comebacks do not stand outside of this.