Critics are already raving about Quentin Tarantino’s latest film Django Unchained. The film garnered the American auteur Golden Globe nominations for Best Screenplay and Best Director, and it’s not out of the question to think Academy Award nominations are on the horizon as well.
However, with all the praise and attention Tarantino’s work receives, there are always critiques. One of the most common is the long run-time of many his films. Apparently, this is the case again with Django Unchained, which clocks in at 165 minutes. With Kill Bill, we saw Tarantino handle a similar situation by splitting the film into two parts, and if Harvey Weinstein had his way, that may have happened with Django.
According to Slash Film, during a press day in New York Tarantino revealed that Weinstein suggested he divide the film in two. Tarantino was against the idea with this project, deciding instead to simply cut the film to a manageable length. Fans of his work will be pleased to know that an extended cut will likely be available at some point, although it’s unclear when exactly that will be. Tarantino shed some light on the longer version, saying:
“I’m going to wait until the film goes around the world, does what it does. And then I’m going to make a decision. I make these scripts that are almost novels. If I had to do this whole thing over again I would have published this as a novel and done this after the fact. Maybe next time. I could do what Kevin Costner did with the expanded edition of ‘Dances with Wolves,’ and I could very well do that. Because if I put some of that in I have to change the story. But I want this version to be the story for a while.”
In many cases, such cuts end up on the special edition DVD/Blu-Ray, so maybe we’re just about a half year away from seeing the complete version. As for Weinstein’s suggestion, Tarantino explained that unlike Kill Bill, Django would not have worked as a two-parter, saying:
“This had to be Django’s journey from beginning to end. It had to be an odyssey. As Django and Schultz traverse America to get to Broomhilda. At one point Harvey was talking about splitting it up [into two films]. And I said, ‘No, it won’t work here.’ You have to follow Django’s journey to the end. There are so many emotions – there’s the action adventure, the gallows humor comedy that runs through it, there’s the pain of the story, there’s the catharsis, there’s the suspense, and hopefully at the end there’s cheering, if the audience isn’t cheering then I haven’t done my job. That I got that cheer at the end was the biggest issue. As far of the pain of the story I could have gone further. I wanted to show more, to show how bad it was. But I also don’t want to traumatize the audience to the point that they aren’t where I need them to be in the last reel.”
It’s nice that a studio bigwig like Weinstein trusts Tarantino enough to make what is seemingly the right decision, based on the positive reaction so far. And with Tarantino’s reputation, why wouldn’t you leave the call up to him? Ultimately, it’s his vision and his film. Although, the real beneficiaries in all this will likely be the audience, which will get to enjoy a better movie. If you go see it, just make sure you go to the bathroom before it starts.
Be sure to check out Django Unchained when it hits theatres on December 25.