Logan Kenny’s review published on Letterboxd:
love seeing slavery exploitation films made by a white man who made a film where he said the n word to samuel l jackson for no reason and didn't receive any consequences, he's the type of man you want making a blaxploitation homage about slavery, one of the worst things to ever happen in the history of civilisation. maybe making schlocky westerns that stylise black men being forced to beat each other to death, black women being forced into hot boxes and being tortured and show a slow motion shot of dogs running to tear apart a runaway slave, is not the job of a white man who uses the word in his films with increasing regularity, a lot of the time for absolutely no reason to the extent that i'm starting to think he has this immense fascination with hearing it, saying it and writing it, a word that is rooted in hundreds of years of systemic oppression, slavery, racial abuse, sadistic displays of abhorrent violence, murder and so much more. a word that has been reappropiated by some black people over years and years of it being nothing but a heinous display of racism. it is not his word, it is not my word. he can write his racially charged fan fiction about the white man saving the evil black man from the sadistic dirtbag, and he can write roles for himself where he spouts off the n word to black actors with no consequence but don't expect me to sit there and not say anything about it, and don't you fucking dare go on and make a movie about slavery, especially not in this way. it's not our story to tell anyway, it's not mine and it's certainly not tarantino's.
also it's just really fucking bad, like almost everything in it is terrible, if you even attempt to disconnect from it politically and from the context of its creation/creator which i don't think you should do but not everyone shares my opinions so hey, it's just not very good, tarantino's formalism seems more focused in adding sam peckinpah style bloodshed, glorious landscape shots and a focus on snappy dialogue and blood effects over politics and people. django isn't really a character, he's a man who was a slave and now he isn't and wants his wife back so now he will go get her by being really good at murdering. that's a synopsis. django's only purpose is to murder at least for the first two acts, and even in the third that's all he really does too. waltz's character is the centre and so is leo's whenever he's on screen. django and broomhilda aren't really characters, aren't developed, aren't focused upon as much as tarantino wants to develop his white characters and samuel l jackson who is the evil black man, who loves his master and hates all the resentful and unfaithful slaves. black bodies exist in tarantino's world as either women to obtain, killers to be kept in the background until they're either required for use by their white friend or killing racists which i am so down with, just wish that it was handled in a way that django got to achieve a form of catharsis by slaughtering all the men, or at least similar men to the ones that abused him, enslaved him and treated him like a rabies infested mutt, while also not just being a prop, a character of nothing, someone designed as a homage to blaxploitation without the cultural significance, without the expertise and without the intelligence. django isn't a human being here, just a weapon, which is really sad, focusing on django as a character would have been considerably more interesting than "hans landa turned face versus racist dicaprio" and instead he was exploited just like everything else. wish the film had maybe done something with king's use of him but nah, it didn't, king is more important and crucial to this story and deserves more than the main character apparently. but the main depiction of black men and women in this are just bodies, bodies to be beaten, whipped, burned, made to fight each other to death and torn apart by dogs. these aren't people to tarantino, they are the butchered bodies on display as decorative pieces, used only as a way to showcase the brutality without the humanity. they are just beings that die, their humanity isn't important to tarantino, he's not interested in empathy, he's interested in violence, and hate and explosions. he's making a homage to a counterculture movement that's actively regressive and honestly kinda apathetic. the kkk get more lines than broomhilda, the kkk are given more depth and insight than any other slave except the evil one and the protagonist who as aforementioned isn't really a character. tarantino's more interested in crafting a sneering villain that he is in capturing empathy, humanity, pain not just as empty brutality to stylise and linger on, he's just more interested in the white men. because he is one, and he wants to make a homage to two favourite genres of his and inputting people that look like him in it as focus. his skin tone, his whiteness must be present in centre point, at least to the majority. he revels in black culture but is disregarding a lot of its people and the tragic history behind it. turning the kkk, a group that lynched and raped and terrorised so so many black people, into an extended snl like skit, isn't a good thing, especially when you view it as more important as adding something more than just the stylised sadism. i don't think he's an intentional racist, but honestly this whole film makes my fucking stomach churn.
(also with inglorious basterds he proved that he could both craft a compelling villain, and a compelling protagonist that was developed with humanity and empathy so that her catharsis was profound, instead of just awful. plus i cannot stress this enough, i want more movies where racist slave owners get shot to death brutally in cathartic ways just you know, preferably one with empathy and an understanding of what it means to be black in america, also one that actually understands black culture, counterculture and specifically blaxploitation instead of just appropriating an art form, misunderstanding it and not grasping the depths of its creation and then inputting it into one of the worst things to ever happen in the history of this planet. just a thought)