Ahmed Aiman’s review published on Letterboxd:
While The Hateful Eight is neither Tarantino's finest, nor is it my favourite film by him, it's undeniably his most mature. This one is pretty much the exact opposite. Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood is wild, a bit rough around the edges and choppy (especially at its second act) and unrestrained to a fault. It also may be his most self-indulgent film to date. Nevertheless, all that is in a most engrossing and enthralling way... for the most part.
Quentin Tarantino is one of my top 5 favourite film directors. Add to that a star-studded cast, most notably Brad Pitt, Al Pacino, Margot Robbie and Leonardo DiCaprio (who's one of, if not my favourite actor of all-time). So there's no need to say how much I was exciting to see his latest film. Honestly, this was my most anticipated upcoming film in general. And I enjoyed it... I liked it... I loved it, but that doesn't mean I found it underwhelming!
Tarantino had to capture the zeitgeist of the 60s, and he did. But he didn't stop here. He made a late 60s, or an early 70s, film through and through. Regardless of its advanced technical aspect, this film let us see how a Tarantino film would be like if he made films in the sixties (although I'm positive he would have made a more violent film). Unlike other Tarantino films, this one's plot unfolds in an unbound and kinda spontaneous manner. And I like this kind of films so much. Of course the music and the production design are spot-on, but Tarantino's outstandingly excellent grasp of the time period has surpassed all that.
For what I've said above, complaining about the film's unfocused storytelling is both contradictory and unjust. Besides, Tarantino's films have never been straightforwardly narrated (the thing I adore). What bothered me is that in this film I felt, for the first time in a Tarantino film, that there are many unnecessary and (I hate to say it) pointless. These oddly intriguing scenes that contain dialogue which has nothing to do with the story yet still madly riveting are not as tasteful as usual. The reasons behind that, I assume, are that: the dialogue doesn't feel as refreshing or daring as in the other Tarantino films, and the scenes in themselves aren't very well-put together or well-combined. I'm not sure why I felt that but maybe it's the editing or maybe it's because these scenes needed to be more longer to earn its weight.
The humour also isn't the cunningly witty humour Tarantino is known for, but it still works fairly well nonetheless. The film is also not as violent and brutal as other Tarantino films, but boy the climactic scene! This is not to say Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood is less engaging than Tarantino's other efforts. Don't worry, my eyes were glued to the screen as they always do while watching any of this brilliant filmmaker's films! What makes this film stand out among the rest of the films in Tarantino's filmography (besides the distinctive way its plot unfolds in) is that this one is undisputedly gentler and actually kinda warm!
Talking about the acting is really unnecessary, but I guess I have to. First and Foremost, Leo and Brad Pitt have a remarkable chemistry that's definitely one of the best I've ever had the pleasure to see in any film. As for each one of them alone, they are both at their peak, but I can't say these are their best performances. I'm not that familiar with Sharon Tate. But for what I know about her style and her manner of speaking, I can say that Margot Robbie nailed it. She is fantastically energetic and innocently charming. It's definitely one of her best supporting performances. Al Pacino doesn't have much screen time, but I enjoyed seeing him. Both Margaret Qualley, who played Pussycat, and Julia Butters, who played the little girl, Trudi, are scene-stealers. I think both of them have very promising careers. I also liked the Stranger Things breakout star, Maya Hawk, despite appearing in very, very few scenes.
I need to watch it one more time to decide whether it's my least favourite Tarantino or not, but, overall, Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood is a blast from start to finish that kept me on the edge of my seat all throughout. Its 161-min runtime just flew by. I mean, it's a Tarantino film at the end of the day!