Steve Leadbetter’s review published on Letterboxd:
At some point, and I'm not sure exactly where, Tarantino lost his cool. It was hard to spot because it wasn't for long, but by the time Basterds came along after Deathproof had been and gone, it was a blessed relief, if not an actual proper return to form. Christoph Waltz was a gem of a find there and here too, Tarantino wisely utilises him as fully as he should.
A revenge/rescue tale told in the way only Tarantino really can, Django Unchained is literally peppered with as many decent lines as bullets fired, making the scenes without violence as much fun (even more so) as the ones where people kill each other in unpleasant ways. In the scenes with both, it is practically impossible not to stare agog the screen. This is only possible and effective with suitable acting chops of course and we are very spoilt indeed in this department. Jamie Foxx, Leonardo DiCaprio, Christoph Waltz, Kerry Washington, Don Johnson and Samuel Jackson have all brought their 'A' game for Tarantino here and given the flowing, ebullient script, it is easy to see them enjoying themselves immensley with their respective roles.
When Django is freed from slavery by an apparently travelling dentist by the name of Dr King Schultz (Waltz), the bounty hunter and his new apprentice set about the point of Tarantino's plot; to find and rescue Django's wife (Washington) but only after Django has helped King kill a few bad guys and collect the bounty. On their travels, which are extensive and brimming with equal amounts of menace and comedy, they meet Big Daddy (Johnson) and plantation owner Calvin Candie, who has a sideline in selling slaves for the purposes of fighting.
Tarantino's skill has always been to tell an intriguing story with verve and flair and this is no different. His characters are nothing if not rounded and what he can do with a frame and a glance will be envied by many of today's (or any) finest directors.
In fact, this has all of the trademark touches you would expect from a QT feature presentation. It has been said that this may be his finest film to date and there is enough here to challenge the likes of Jackie Brown and Pulp Fiction for the title. It may be stretching it a little, if only for the reason that it maybe lacks some of the replay value of some of his other works. Both of the aformentioned titles were easy to sit down to at any time but Django Unchained feels just a bit too long to be comfortable for viewing maybe more than a couple of times. This may not be the case in time, but if you were to ask yourself if it as 'cool' as either Jackie Brown or Pulp Fiction, you may be forced to admit perhaps, just perhaps, that it isn't.
Regardless, Django Unchained is an accomplished piece from a fully matured Tarantino, who still retains a love for the comical in even the most serious of situations, a soon to be classic addition to his catalogue of truly impressive features to date. This is very special indeed.