Film Review | The Hero's Journey - Django Unchained


Django Unchained (2012) begins with chained slaves being led across the United States, trekking across vast terrains, with the lead character Django (Jamie Foxx) being in the very centre of the line. After this introduction, a German bounty hunter named Dr King Schultz (Christoph Waltz) approaches the caravan of slaves, kills one of the slavers, cripples the other and frees Django, setting him on his journey as the protagonist.

Later, Schultz informs Django that he is a bounty hunter, and will allow Django to leave and do as he pleases once he has helped to find the Brittle Brothers, but Django refuses his call, and instead notifies Schultz of his wife, Brunhilde, who has been taken from him. Schultz uses this to his favour, and agrees to help Django in his quest by teaching him how to bounty hunt, provided Django stays in his company through winter. Naturally, Django agrees, signifying Schultz as having become the mentor/father-figure.

Django's crossing of the threshold comes when he finally arrives at the Brittle Brothers' location, and proceeds to kill two of them, after giving them a whipping, just as they had given him when he was their slave. After Schultz kills the remaining brother, Django looks very pleased with himself, and clearly enjoyed exacting revenge on those who were doing monstrous things to others, signifying his point of no return. Shortly after, the two continue on their road to saving Brunhilde by completing other contracts through to the other end of winter, facing difficulties along the way, and Django becoming an incredibly accurate shot.

The approach to the inmost cave begins as the duo meet a man called Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio) who is believed to be the current owner of Brunhilde. To gain entry to Candie's plantation, Candie-Land, Django pretends to be a 'mandingo fighting' expert, wishing to buy one of Candie's best mandingo fighters for an extremely large sum of money. This offer immediately captures 'Monsieur Candie's'  attention, and offers for them all to travel together to Candie-Land. The group proceeds to travel together, with Django having to keep up his act all along the way so as not to reveal their true motive for travelling to the plantation.

Upon reaching Candie-Land, Schultz asks to see Brunhilde as they both speak German and he would prefer to use his mother-tongue, which is of course a ruse to allow Django to finally see his wife again. They later meet, and then have to conceal their knowledge of each other during their business dinner with Candie. They are discovered and a fight ensues, leading to the deaths of both Calvin Candie and King Schultz, before Django fights for his life, killing an unbelievable amount of lackeys in the process. To gain an upper hand, on of Candie's men holds Brunhilde at gun-point, forcing Django to surrender. He is then placed back in shackles and hung upside-down before being sent away to a mining company as a slave.

On his way to the mine, Django manages to convince the three slavers that he is a bounty hunter who is currently pursuing a man who is still at Candie-Land. They all agree to release him so they can all take the bounty, splitting the reward. Of course, Django kills them all immediately, frees the rest of the slaves he was travelling with, and takes the road back to Candie-Land, with guns and dynamite in-hand.

Django's resurrection comes in the form of his return to Candie-Land, as he lies in wait for the remaining residents of the plantation to return home. As they do, Django allows all the innocent people to leave, before killing each and every one of the perpetrators, but choosing to cripple Stephen (Samuel L. Jackson) as he was the mastermind behind most of the wrongdoings at Candie-Land. Django leaves Stephen bleeding on the floor, crying out in pain and blaspheming, before lighting a fuse and blowing up the whole house (which could signify the fact that Django and Brunhilde are putting their past behind them and will continue with their lives uninhibited), and riding away with Brunhilde by his side, both freed slaves.

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