Of course, it's a Tarantino revenge flick, so if nothing else there's a gory sense of fun in it. And for a freed slave to get revenge on slave-owners...well, that's the kind of gory fun I can get behind. Christoph Waltz as Dr. King Schultz gets things started by buying Django (Jamie Foxx.) See, he's a bounty hunter and Django knows the guys he's looking for. For a while it becomes a story of their friendship, and tries to make some interesting observations on the master/slave relationship and comparing it to the mentor/student relationship.
As for the n-word. Yes, it's used excessively...even gratuitously, but not unintelligently. One of my favorite parts is when Django uses the n-word and makes it clear he's also using it to refer to a white guy (a sycophantic assistant to Leonardo DiCaprio's evil plantation owner.) In a way, the film takes less of an anti-slavery view than a worship-of-the-brave-individual view.
But then, there are just the odd moments. Very early on Dr. Schultz shoots a slave trader and then his partner's horse. I was struck how watching a horse fall had a bigger impact than watching a man die. I assume this was done intentionally.
Later on one character gets shot and flies off at a 90-degree angle from the direction of the shot. That was jarringly weird. But I assume that Tarantino is such a glutton for film he's making a visual reference to some film I haven't seen or don't remember. I can't believe he thought that looked right.
But the most egregious example was the proto-KKK scene. A bunch of locals want to terrorize Schultz and Django. So they ride up with bags on their heads, and start complaining about how they can't see through the poorly cut eye-holes. This goes on for several minutes, Jonah Hill turns out to be one of the guys under the hoods. It was funny as an isolated scene, but it felt like a Saturday Night Live sketch jammed into the middle of the movie. Horribly out of place.
But, for all it's excesses and puzzling scenes, it was a fun, bloody ride. And that's all you should really want from Django.
Running Time: 165 minutes
My Total Minutes: 310,211