There may be a lot of fantastic films opening this year (particularly with it being time for Oscar bait), but the one I’ve been waiting for the longest, Django Unchained, has definitely wound up being my favorite. Everyone knows I’m just a tad bit obsessed with Quentin Tarantino films. So much so, that I named my dog Beatrix Kiddo ala Kill Bill. While I may have named my most recent puppy Pixar, that doesn’t mean I’m not inclined to the rest of his films’ character names. And if I were to ever have a male dog, his name would be Django (“the D is silent”) after Jamie Foxx’s badass version of the character, originated by Franco Nero, unleashed in Django Unchained.
Beginning in 1858, two years before the Civil War, Django is shackled and chained being hauled away by his new owners, the Speck Brothers (James Remar and James Russo). Along comes another weary traveler by the name Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz). Schultz is a German dentist, retired and working in the States as a bounty hunter. He is currently looking for the Bittle Brothers — Big John (M.C. Gainey), Ellis (Doc Duhame), and Roger (Cooper Huckabee). Schultz knows Django knows who they are and acquires a violent bill of sale for Django so that he can point them out. Django knows what they look like after he and his wife Broomhilda von Shaft (Kerry Washington) were sold separately from their original “owners” Curtis Carrucan (Bruce Dern).
After taking down the Bittle Brothers on Big Daddy’s (Don Johnson), a run in with the country’s most disorganized pre-Ku Klux Klan group, and Schultz taking Django under his wing teaching him the tricks of his trade, they come to find out that Broomhilda has been sold to Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio). Candie owns the fourth biggest plantation in Mississippi called “Candyland,” where he makes money in slave Mandingo fighting. Now Django is on a mission to get back his wife and continue his new free life under the name Django “Freeman.” But things eventually go from bad to worse and it becomes a true fight to the finish against Candie and his gang of henchmen lead by Billy Crash (Walton Goggins), and Candie’s right hand man Stephen (Samuel L. Jackson).