Directed by: Francesca Comemcini, Enrico Maria Artale, David Evans
Distributed by: TBA
Written by Jeff Sparks
“Django” stars Matthias Schoenearts, Noomi Rapace, Nicholas Pinnock, Lisa Vicari, and Jyuddah Jaymes. Matthias plays the titular character, a gunslinger with a shady past who wanders upon the town of New Babylon. The town is a free community made up of outcasts looking to live on their own terms. Their leader is John Ellis (Pinnock), a former slave who seeks to marry an orphaned girl who he rescued years earlier. Little does he know, Django is actually the girl’s father who has long been in search of her upon finding her missing after returning from the war, where he fought for the Confederate army. Meanwhile, Elizabeth (Rapace) is a vicious gang leader known as “The Lady”. Her gang rules over a religious community that looks to exterminate the sinful New Babylon residents from the area. There don’t seem to be many high-budget Westerns anymore these days. Most are cheap VOD flicks not worth watching like “Dead For A Dollar.” The problem with these period pieces is that a high budget is usually required to make the setting convincing. “Django” delivers on that level, but struggles just about everywhere else.
The characters are one of the few things that the show does a good enough job on. Noomi Rapace’s villainous Elizabeth stands out in particular. Referring to herself as a “soldier of God”, she leads her gang on crusades to remove the earth of sin. Besides her henchmen, her only ally is her blind son who she cares for. Although her rivalry with New Babylon is her main focus at all times, the show never delves into what she despises about the community besides that they indulge in things like sex and alcohol. Some flashbacks reveal why she is the way that she is, but they never go deep enough to the extent that they need to fully flesh this character out. While Rapace convinces as the menacing villain the show doesn’t often give her much to do besides plot her next moves. Her rare moments of combat do shine though. Rapace has gotten a lot of flak for her accent as Elizabeth. Rapace is known for almost always using her distinct Swedish accent no matter the role. Here she attempts a southern accent which she struggles in. While it is noticeably rough at first she does improve further into the show. Either that or I just got used to it. Or I’m just a Rapace apologist here.
Opposite Rapace is Django, the protagonist if you can even call him that. There are so many side characters it often feels that he is given the least amount of screen time even though the show is named after him. Django’s story is partially told through a handful of flashbacks that show his journey to where he is now. His family’s travels across the country, their struggles with the natives, and his time in the Civil War are all interesting segments. Upon arriving in New Babylon though he feels less interesting as he becomes a generic goon that helps with random tasks. Anytime someone talks to him it’s constantly “Django deliver these supplies, Django kill this guy, Django save this girl, Django go wash my car.” It’s as if he’s a playable character in an RPG game, always doing random tasks and that’s about it. Schoenearts plays him well though and convinces as Django at all stages of his life.
Neither Elizabeth’s community nor New Babylon are ever given a spotlight. Without any select scenes or side characters, these inhabitants might as well be nameless NPCs from an open-world game. Without knowing who these people are it’s difficult to understand why this war between the two towns is happening and why they think that each other is in the wrong. Because of this, the varied flashbacks are often more interesting than the actual main plot. This is especially true in the latter half of the show where multiple twists occur. Some of them are so jarring that it’s obvious that the writer’s main focus was to shock you in an attempt to keep you watching. Though the script is weak and the storyline often ridiculous, if you give “Django” a watch you might be like me and become just interested enough to see how it ends.
“Django” Season 1 Trailer