First 'Django' Reviews Unchained From Their Embargo

Reviews
by Matt Singer
December 12, 2012 12:58 AM
1 Comment
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"Django Unchained."

Quentin Tarantino rode a blazing saddle into the hearts of critics all over the country early Wednesday morning, when the embargo lifted on reviews for his new film "Django Unchained." So far I've found just a couple truly negative critique -- all of the rest basically call the movie more satisfying than a five dollar milkshake. That includes my own -- which you'll find linked to below -- and my 7/10 review is actually on the low end of the praise for "Django." Some critics call it the best film of the year. Others rank it near the top of Tarantino's filmography. When you're comparing a movie to "Pulp Fiction" and "Reservoir Dogs," it must be pretty good.

Here are the first fifteen or so reviews for "Django" -- I'll do an update on this in the morning as well, since some of the usual suspects for this sort of piece haven't filed yet.

Early Reviews of 'Django Unchained' (LAST UPDATE: Wednesday PM)

Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian:

"A thrilling return to form with inspired performances from Christoph Waltz, Jamie Foxx and Samuel L Jackson."

Clay Cane, BET:

"It’s Quentin Tarantino’s greatest work since 'Pulp Fiction' and, undoubtedly, the best film of 2012."

Clayton Davis, Awards Circuit:

"Where Tarantino succeeds is in digging some terrific performances out of his principal cast."

Peter Debruge, Variety:

"An immensely satisfying taste of antebellum empowerment packaged as spaghetti-Western homage."

Tim Grierson, Screen International:

"Audacious but overlong, irreverent but gripping, writer-director Quentin Tarantino’s 'Django Unchained' is like nothing else -- except, that is, the filmmaker’s earlier works."

Eric Kohn, Indiewire:

"Tarantino relishes the opportunity to run wild with a symbol of black persecution until the idea loses momentum -- and then, true to form, he just keeps going."

Peter Labuza, Press Play:

"A film involving this many sticks of dynamite should have been more powerful."

Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter:

"It’s true that cowboy and genre characters needn’t be deep, but since the other characters get most of the good lines, Django could have used something they don’t have: an extra dimension."

Erik McClanahan, The Playlist:

"[Tarantino is] still one of the most exciting American filmmakers working today."

Drew McWeeny, HitFix:

"Simply the latest entry in one of the most interesting filmographies today."

Aaron Neuwirth, Why So Blu?:

"The most fun you can have at the theaters this holiday season, assuming that you know you are going into a Tarantino film."

Nick Newman, The Film Stage:

"As a tightly-maintained powder keg of cinema, 'Django Unchained' is also something worthy of celebration."

Rodrigo Perez, The Playlist:

"Has almost zero subtext and is a largely soulless bloodbath, in which the history of pain and retribution, that's used as a backdrop, is coupled carelessly with a cool soundtrack and some quirky dialogue that might just entertain the shit out of the less discerning."

Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out New York:

"The movie loses its slipperiest speechifiers a bit too soon -- Foxx, more of a symbolic presence, is the weak link -- but while the conversation rages, you can’t help but gasp at Tarantino’s emancipation proclamation."

Mike Ryan, Huffington Post:

"It's worth seeing for the performances alone."

Sergio, Shadow and Act:

"The result is, as far as I’m concerned, is simply fantastic!"

Matt Singer, ScreenCrush:

"Whatever ‘Django”s issues -- and it has a couple -- failing to deliver on its promises isn’t one of them."

Gabe Toro, The Playlist:

"An insane mess in several ways, showing one of our great filmmakers unfocused and chaotic, attempting racial and political insight while also satiating his own cinephila."

Jim Vejvoda, IGN:

"A weird, wild, and violent crowd-pleaser that serves as a raucous salute to the spaghetti western."

Scott Weinberg, Geek Nation:

"Immediately stands as one of [the] most powerful, personal, brazen, and ballsy movies of [Tarantino]'s exceedingly colorful career."

Alison Willmore, Movieline:

"Comes across like a rough cut that was never looked at as a coherent whole."

Plus, here's a sample of some tweets out of the Austin, Texas "Django" press screening that let out right as the embargo was lifted, along with a few additional critics' tweets:

"Django Unchained" opens in theaters on Christmas.

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1 Comment

  • serpico | December 12, 2012 7:54 AMReply

    I love, LOVE that some negative reviews center around the movie's "novel"-like display. I thank the reviewers for pointing them out just so I can say, "Screw them.". I'm more than overjoyed that movies like "The Tree of Life" and "The Master", and now "Django", throw away the structure rules and tell the story on its own terms. They're not the first movies to do it. Certainly a plethora of European films across the decades have done the same thing. It's a lot more liberating, or should I say, unchained.

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