Quentin Tarantino and the spaghetti western genre should be a perfect match. Spaghetti westerns are essentially a feature length excuse for a bunch of cool shit to happen, with the plot often obscured through half-heard snatches of dialogue and cryptic flashbacks. And Tarantino is a noted connoisseur of cool shit! The two should be incredible together.
For an hour and a half of this spaghetti-western-slash-slave-revenge-fantasy, the potential is realised, with a compellingly tense dinner scene and welcome displays of bloody ultraviolence, accompanied by excellent music choices and amusing cameos.
Unfortunately, there’s still another hour of the film on top of that. Tarantino is traditionally great at composing hugely entertaining scenes despite the fact that basically nothing is happening. But here too many scenes feel indulgent, like they would have been better left on the editing room floor; the run time is dragged out unnecessarily with awkwardly unfunny Klan interludes and opportunities for Leonardo DiCaprio to ham it up as a foppish slave owner. Foxx and Waltz are both great, though, as a former slave and eccentric bounty hunter respectively.
Django Unchained isn’t as good as the complex, entertaining Inglourious Basterds, but it’s still great if you have a lengthy attention span.