HorrorJapan’s review published on Letterboxd:
Now the best and worst things about this movie is that it's a Tarantino western. Now first of all, I am really glad that he didn't try to make a spaghetti western, he made his own western, and that's where all of the strong points come from. There was still plenty of references, most of which were at the beginning, which I found rather uninteresting, but after the KKK scene the film becomes its own thing thank god.
I felt like the use of contemporary music was brilliant and really gave the film some energy, but when it delved back in to the spaghetti western back catalogue it didn't really fit. The use of the Django theme at the beginning was awful, it didn't fit the moment, the cinematography, the pacing, it didn't fit anything. This is one example of Tarantino's fanboyism shooting him in the foot. Kudos on getting an original Morricone track though, I really liked that.
Waltz and Di Caprio are brilliant, as is Sam Jackson. Tarantino knows how to get actors to perform at their best unlike most other directors working. The violence I was really impressed with, and pitched just right. He knew when to make it nasty and when to make it 'fun' violence. And between this and Basterds Tarantino has really learned how to create some tension in his films. Every scene featuring Di Caprio is fantastic.
The biggest problem I have with the film is how unnecessarily drawn out some of the scenes at the beginning are. Yes, you love your own writing, but you're fucking killing your scenes here. Waltz's speeches in the first 20 minutes were just so tedious, and then later on in the film when the plot is moving this goes away because he lets the plot talk for itself instead of the characters waffling on repeating the same point in different phrasings. Despite my complaints though, the film was easily a 4/5... then the confrontation comes. The film just fucking dies on its feet, and to make matters worse, Tarantino sticks himself in the very next scene to make damn sure that you feel detached from the movie. The film just lurches forward painfully after that, despite most of the action being in that section.
Tarantino is so talented, but he's the only director who I wish had an overbearing producer to kick his ass in to place when he gets too overindulgent.