Tarantino back on bloody fine form with Django Unchained

'Unwholesome, deplorable – delicious!' Pulp Fiction director makes brilliant comeback with slave movie

LAST UPDATED AT 10:39 ON Thu 13 Dec 2012

GOOD news for Quentin Tarantino fans desperately hoping the director's new film Django Unchained recaptures the blazing, bloodthirsty form he showed with 1994's Pulp Fiction: most critics love it.

The Guardian's Peter Bradshaw says Tarantino's blend of the 'Spaghetti Western' and 'Blaxploitation' genres is "brilliant and brutal", a "wildly exciting return to form" by a director whose recent films have tested his fans' devotion.  

Django Unchained tells the story of a slave who is recruited as a bounty hunter in mid-19th century America. Bradshaw says the entire cast – led by Jamie Foxx as the avenging slave, Django – are superb, but singles out Samuel L Jackson's performance as a servant loyal to Leonardo Di Caprio's evil slave-owner as a "masterpiece".

"The movie is managed with Tarantino's superb provocation and audacity, with a whiplash of cruelty and swagger of scorn," writes Bradshaw in a five-star review ahead of the film's New Year release in Britain. "It's as unwholesome, deplorable and delicious as a forbidden cigarette."

The Hollywood Reporter's Todd McCarthy says Tarantino's film does for slave owners what Inglourious Basterds "did to Nazis" (find new and increasingly gory ways to dispatch them, in other words).

Tarantino, says McCarthy, "injects the weighty material with so many jocular, startling and unexpected touches that it's constantly stimulating." Variety's Peter Debruge calls the film "bloody hilarious and hilariously bloody".

The praise isn't universal. Movieline's Alison Willmore writes: "The film comes across like a rough cut that was never looked at as a coherent whole. Some segments that start off as promising become interminable while others feel entirely unnecessary."

Judge for yourselves when Django Unchained is released in the UK on 18 January. · 

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