Critic Rating

The summers of 2019 see the maverick filmmaker Quentin Tarantino return with his 9th feature, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.  It is a brilliantly captivating tale about the intersection of 1960’s era classic Hollywood and the tragic Sharon Tate murder. DiCaprio and Pitt are exceptional as expected. The movie can be described as a rare original idea filled in the sea of reboots and big franchise sequels. The vivid portrait of the 60’s is immaculately painted by Tarantino’s utilization of obscure pop culture references and a very fitting soundtrack. Unlike most of Tarantino’s past works, the film is a slow burner and takes its time to fully hit it out of the park.

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The world of 1960’s Hollywood is rapidly changing. 1960’s counterculture is in full swing. Actor Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) who stars in his own TV-show, Bounty Law is struggling to adapt to this change and feels vulnerable due to his declining fortunes. In all this turmoil he only has his stunt double and buddy Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) by his side. Cliff is more laid back and care free in comparison to his buddy Rick.  

 The film is mostly about a weekend in February 1969 where we get to see the lives of Rick, Cliff and Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie) play out. We only get to see a very little of Sharon Tate. We only see her as representing the more happy and colorful part of the Hollywood but we never got to know more about Tate as a person.

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Only in a Tarantino movie do we get to see some unbelievable mixing of real history and outlandish fiction. The scenes set in Spahn Ranch where the actual real life Manson family cult inhabited the place are very chilly and felt straight out of a Horror flick. The whole film has a splattering of depictions of some real life Hollywood figures and icons like Bruce Lee, Steve McQueen, Roman Polanski and many others.  This definitely enriches the story and our understanding of that era.

 Both Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio are exceptionally wonderful as the main duo. Only can DiCaprio play the role of a worn out old-school Hollywood actor with the occasional burst of charisma and make it believable. Brad Pitt on the other hand deserves a lot of acclaim for his part. We rarely get to see Pitt essaying such roles nowadays. Pitt brings the right amount of goofiness and comedy to his part.

The only complaint from this film is the fact that the pacing is very tedious. Many scenes feel a little drawn out and might have been alright with a little bit of editing. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood in comparison with other Tarantino flicks resembles Jackie Brown due to its character driven nature and less explosiveness from the get go.

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One thing we can expect from Tarantino is absolute quality film making. The set designs are magnificent. The cinematography is wonderful. The whole film has a very dream like tone to it. The attention to detail is brilliant from the 1960’s era cars, the hairstyles, the vocabulary and other subtleties.The ending of the movie will be talked about for a long time. Like many of his previous works, Tarantino has a knack for delivering very controversial films. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood has its share of gory violence and might put off some movie goers but it will make others really happy. In an era of big franchises, sequels and reboots of older classic we rarely get to see something this big and original with its own authentic expression and it is certainly refreshing.

An entertainment buff, writer and occasional poet who is passionate about seeing well written words turn into films, dramas and novels.

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