Several November releases (Lincoln, Life of Pi, Silver Linings Playbook) have a lot of momentum heading into the last month of 2012, as far as Oscar prospects are concerned. However, there are also a handful of December flicks shaping up as strong contenders, including the latest films from Oscar-winners Tom Hooper (Les Misérables), Kathryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty) and Quentin Tarantino (Django Unchained).
A select few got an early look at Les Miz and ZDK back during the Thanksgiving holiday frame - and now, we also have the first reactions to Tarantino's spaghetti western throwback (following on the heels of an action-packed final trailer).
Django was screened for an audience primarily composed of Directors Guild of America (DGA) members - such as filmmaker Rian Johnson (Looper) - however, certain members of the press (like the New York Post's Lou Lumenick) were also present. /Film rounded up Tweets from several prominent names and Hollywood insiders in attendance, with the consensus as follows:
- Django Unchained is a very funny and very violent homage to the spaghetti western genre.
- Christoph Waltz, Samuel L. Jackson and Leonardo DiCaprio are the standouts in a cast that delivers great performances all around.
- The film runs somewhere around 2 hours and 40 minutes long, but it feels shorter.
- Tarantino nods to Mel Brooks' Blazing Saddles as much as he does serious westerns by the likes of Sergio Leone (The Good, the Bad and the Ugly) and Sergio Corbucci (Django).
In summary, it sounds as though Django Unchained is the quintessential Tarantino film we've been expecting for some time, based on early script impressions and the sizzle reel footage shown at Comic-Con. Furthermore, that makes Django and Silver Linings Playbook the rare darkly comical and offbeat Oscar hopefuls this season, setting them apart from the more serious awards-baiting titles currently in theaters (or arriving in the near future).
For the uninitiated: here is the basic setup for Django Unchained (go here for the full synopsis), followed by the trailer:
Set in the South two years before the Civil War, “Django Unchained” stars Academy Award-winner Jamie Foxx as Django, a slave whose brutal history with his former owners lands him face-to-face with German-born bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz (Academy Award-winner Christoph Waltz). Schultz is on the trail of the murderous Brittle brothers, and only Django can lead him to his bounty. The unorthodox Schultz acquires Django with a promise to free him upon the capture of the Brittles – dead or alive.
Django Unchained opens in theaters on Christmas Day 2012.