Django Unchained interests me most as a Christoph Waltz vehicle.
It’s the second Tarantino movie where the very best thing about it is the emphatic, excitable German who cannot wait to show how his command of multiple languages allows him to dominate everyone else. In one of Django’s funniest moments, Waltz is told that the powerful Leonardo DiCaprio is a Francophile and Waltz delightedly begins speaking French fluently, and then is told that Leo doesn’t actually speak French. And so he sadly puts his trick away.
In the first movie, Waltz’s presence made sense. The guy was a Nazi. In this movie, the German is shoehorned into a plot that does not readily accommodate a Roving German Dentist Assassin, but he has to be in the movie because hearing Christoph Waltz speak Tarantino’s words is one of the greatest things to behold in a movie, and Tarantino knows it.
Unfortunately for this Slave Revenge Western, there is only one truly compelling black character in this movie–Samuel L. Jackson–and that’s one less than Pulp Fiction had. Jamie Foxx is at his best when he’s playing roles Waltz created for him, but when he’s back to being himself, he’s a blank badass slate.
That I was wildly entertained throughout is barely worth mentioning. Every frame ached to please, and did, and did, and did.