I am, by all means, a significant fan of Tarantino’s specific brand of insanity. His dialogue is matched only by the Coens and he has an identifiable and unique style that is built off significant knowledge and auteur status consistency. But his film’s never seem to have adequate advertising. The teaser for Inglourious Basterds was horrendous, the full length trailer only slightly picking up the slack.
His latest, a revenge western about a slave named Django (Jamie Foxx) and a bounty hunter, King Schultz (Christoph Waltz) who seek a pair of convicts and Django’s wife is given a classier, but still unrefined trailer. The duo’s journey eventually leads them to Calvin Candie’s (Leonardo DiCaprio) plantation, Candyland. It looks and sounds much like Basterds, basing itself on real historical prejudice, allowing for fantastical revenge. But Tarantino is always in a rush with his movies. He ill-advisedly sent an unfinished Basterds to Cannes, which opened to mixed reviews, even though the same critics eventually wrote positive reviews of the finished film. He’s still filming and he’s spouting out this footage. It looks great, but it also looks quickly thrown together. But then again, the scrappiness is all part of Tarantino’s grungy, grindhouse appeal.
The trailer gives a good brush-up of the plot, without going to far and features Tarantino’s characteristic blend of pop music, great dialogue, and spirts of violence. Everything in the film looks great, specifically recent Oscar winner (for Hugo) Robert Richardson’s nuanced cinematography. Each frame in the trailer looks phenomonal (that’s a compliment to the costumes and sets as well). But the standout to me, is DiCaprio. It’s rare to get such a strong impression from a few frames. But he looks like he’s having more fun than I’ve ever seen from him onscreen. Although the early reactions at Cannes (where seven minutes of the film premiered) primarily praised Foxx’s sly performance and his future catchprase line “Django, the ‘d’ is silent,” I crack a larger smile every time I hear DiCaprio say “gentlemen, you had my curiosity. Now you have my attention!”
With The Great Gatsby coming out the same day, I think it’s safe to say that DiCaprio’s career will peak on exactly the twenty-fifth of December this year. I suspect each film will find box office success. But could this be the year when they finally give that man a damn Oscar? What about the rest of the film’s potential? Will this be a Best Picture contender? Alex certainly thinks so. Fingers crossed!