Quentin Tarantino’s best movie since Jackie Brown
is a sprawling, bloody, vulgar, unexpectedly humorous, action-packed tribute, not only to the filmmaker’s beloved spaghetti westerns and slavesploitation shockers such as Mandingo
, but to — you’ll excuse the expression — the American sense of frontier justice. Jamie Foxx, in the title role as a newly freed slave, and Christoph Waltz, as a bounty hunter, take a detour into the depraved depths of the Old South, circa 1858, to tangle with a decadent plantation master (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his faithful (and evil) old retainer (Samuel L. Jackson) over a slave named Broomhilda (Kerry Washington). The feathers fly. Tarantino’s dialogue is solid gold, especially when Waltz and Jackson say it. And the supporting cast is a who’s who of half-remembered heavies: Don Johnson, James Remar, Franco Nero (the original Django), Bruce Dern, Don Stroud, Michael Parks, et al. Functions best as a tongue-in-cheek corrective to The Birth of a Nation
, with overtones of the ripe and raunchy Seventies junk-fu so many of us cannot live without. (160 min.)
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This year, it was all about genre.