Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood ★★★★★

So I finished the novel, and decided to rewatch the film, partly because it has been a year and a half since my first and only other watch. This is a combined review for the novel and the film. (The book is 4/5 BTW.)

I've watched the film and read the book in the intended order: film, book, film. The book expands on the storyline adding events and backstories and character details, but actually expects you to be familiar with the film's events beforehand (so does this review, but no spoilers). Because the film's end is casually, briefly mentioned without doing justice to the 30 minutes in the film. In this way, Tarantino sets up a different ending for the novel, which in contrast to film's (physically) explosive climax, is more about emotional payoff, and apparently was actually filmed but not included. Even the altercation in the Spahn Ranch is omitted in the novel. In short, the novel never really feels like something Tarantino would write, if you disregard the endless, passionate, "golden days of Hollywood" detailing. Also, Tarantino being the cheeky dude he is, references himself in the novel, not once, but twice.

We get a deep delve into Tarantino's reimagining of the 60s Hollywood, in addition to a few thoughts and stances of the big guy himself, better explained characters and such, yet the novel stands pale in comparison to the film. Yes, the novel's detailing enhance the experience of the film but it seems as that's the lone purpose of the novel (of course, apart from minting Tarantino some moolah).

Now onto the film. It's such a pleasure seeing two powerhouses headlining the film and taking on the meaty roles of Rick Dalton and Cliff Booth. My favourite scene after my first watch (surprise'nt) was the ending. Today, after having read the novel and getting a better grasp on the relationship between the pint sized Trudi Fraser and Rick Dalton, it is the one where Trudi whispers a compliment into Rick's ear. It's such a personal moment,and you can see how much it means to Rick. I also liked the presentation of the idealistic Hollywood lifestyle portrayed via Sharon Tate juxtaposed against the harsh realities faced by Rick Dalton. And then comes Cliff Booth, swaying to his own tune, driving around LA drenched in Tarantino flavoured nostalgia.

In other words, read the novel, so that during your next watch, you can soak in the Tarantino-ness to the maximum.

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