Mark Jewiss’s review published on Letterboxd:
My first experience with QT was watching a dodgy pirate copy of Reservoir Dogs that my sister got from someone. I remember having to sit only a few feet from the screen to be able to make out what was going on, so that tells you how bad the quality was (kids today have it easy with their downloadable pirate films!) and the whole thing completely captivated me in every way.
I've lapped up every QT film since then. It's fair to say, I'm a big fan. QT has got a stellar filmography, with every one of his full length features right up their as undeniable classics. He's taken a style of film making, and made it his own throughout his career. I completely get why some people don't like what he does, and that's fair enough, but even if you don't like what he does, you can't deny the skill he has with making films.
Which brings me to his latest, Django Unchained. Here, QT takes his style, and splats it all over the Spaghetti Western. I'm a lover of that particular genre as well, so, really, was there any way in which I was not going to be able to love this latest film from QT? Probably not, but luckily it does actually deserve a 5 star rating.
Christop Waltz steals the show again as the bounty hunter, with Leonardo DiCaprio and Samuel L Jackson coming in joint second on the acting front. These are blistering performances in every way. Jamie Foxx is also great, but I think he probably has the 'easiest' of the roles across the film.
The plot moves along at quite a pace for me, I know this is nearly a three hour movie, but it didn't feel like it. There are three clear acts that make sense, telling the tale of Django. The only time that I was taken out of the film was the appearance of QT himself in the film - for all of his directing talent, the guy doesn't look good on screen, and seeing him and one other putting on Australian accents took me right out of the film. I'm not sure how authentic that is, I have no knowledge of Australians being in the 'wild west', but there you go.
Which brings me to the copious usage of the word nigger throughout the film. A lot of people have taken offence at that, and feel that there is too much usage of the word, and that it's in the script just to antagonise. Personally, I didn't feel that. I don't recall one instance where the word was being used provocatively, in my opinion, or out of place. I will take it as written that it is simply authentic for that bunch of characters in that setting to speak in that way. Having said that, I'm not American or black, and I can understand why some will not enjoy that part of the script.
The other thing that is hitting the headlines is the violence in this film. Based on the amount of blog mentions that its getting, I was expecting a lot more than what is actually in the film. Yes, there are a lot of squibs in use here, but that's in homage to the Spaghetti Westerns of old. If anything, this is toned down in comparison to QTs recent works.
Neither of these points should be getting the focus that they are. The key things here are the superb scripts, the outstanding performances, the wonderful cinematography and direction, and the near perfect soundtrack.
Colour me QT fanboy, but this is an instant classic no matter how you look at it.