Georges Duroy is a former soldier living in a garret and probably dying of consumption. By chance he bumps into an old comrade-in-arms who helps get him on his feet again.
“Hey, you’re Philip Glenister! You were great in Life on Mars, but that thing about demons? What were you thinking?”
Glenister introduces him to the editor of the newspaper where he works.
“It’s Chief O’Brien from Deep Space Nine. Did you really like Dr Bashir more than your wife?”
Duroy gets some help from Uma Thurman to write his column for the paper while the grown-ups play politics in the background.
Duroy starts having an affair with Clotilde played by Christina Ricci, who is probably old enough to be his older sister.
“Still trying to escape from the Addams Family?”
He then marries Uma Thurman, who’s old enough to be his aunt.
“What the hell is that accent you’re trying to pull off? It’s worse than that of the English agent who was pretending to be a French policeman in ’Allo ’Allo.”
But for Duroy, one older woman isn’t enough. He has to have the clingy Kristin Scott Thomas, who’s old enough to be his mother, and is the boss’s wife.
“You were great in The Mummy.”
“That was The English Patient, you deformed sperm.”
“Yeah, what was the deal with the aberrant stress pattern?”
But having divorced Uma Thurman, he hits on the boss’s daughter, and although he thinks Duroy is an oik, he agrees to the marriage. He has succeeded in climbing the greasy pole.
A bounty hunter, Dr King Schawartz, is looking for a black slave who can identify three brothers for him. After an altercation with some slave traders, Schwartz takes on Django as a partner and offers to help him track down and free his wife, Broomhilda von Shaft.
This means getting cosy with M. Candie, who happens to be the current owner of Django’s wife. Her novelty value is that she can speak German. (The film is very long and I either missed or forgot why Schwartz and Django couldn’t just make an offer for her.) They offer an outrageous sum of money for a fighting slave, but as the sale goes through, Candie’s man, Stephen (Samuel L. Jackson), warns him that the purchase is a ruse. Schwartz kills Candie, but is killed by Candie’s bodyguard. In spite of his heroic defence, Django is captured and hauled off to the mines.
He manages to trick the thick mine employees (including Tarantino playing an Australian for some weird reason) into releasing him and letting him have a gun. Django rides back to the big house where he kills the rest of Candie’s minions before blowing the house up with the traitorous Stephen inside.
In spite of this being a very, very long film (165 minutes) and probably in need of some editing, it didn’t drag. It ranged from the comical such as the lynch mob complaining about the bags they’re wearing to disguise themselves to the gruesome such as the scene in which a runaway slave was torn to pieces by dogs, or the fight-to-the-death for Candie’s amusement.
Tarantino’s films have been a hit-and-miss affair since Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction, but this, I think, is a hit, although viewers will need to get in supplies for a marathon.
As the bookies predicted, Peter Capaldi is the new Dr Who. If only he could step out of the TARDIS and fire off a few choice bon mots au Malcolm Tucker.
Actually, has Armando Ianucci ever written an episode of Dr Who? That might be interesting.