Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood ★★★★★

This was way more emotion than I had been expecting.

Every Tarantino film is a love letter to the movies, but this is the first to feel wistful about cinema’s past and melancholy about its future. 

This feels like the closing of a chapter, a kiss goodbye to the way things used to be. Setting your movie in 1969 is a perfect way to mirror the way things are headed now. 

The studio system was completely collapsing in on itself and yet it birthed one of the greatest decades the medium had ever seen. But a lot of people got crushed up in the fall, a lot of people like Rick Dalton. 

Things are changing. Seeing Brad Pitt and Leo DiCaprio onscreen is a harsh reminder to me of the decline of the movie star. Faces don’t sell blockbusters anymore, guys in capes and armor suits do.

It’s another precarious time for the movie business if you don’t work on the Disney lot and Tarantino probably knows this better than most as one of the few directors still standing who can sell an original movie based on his name alone. 

And it’s still daring. It still toes the line. It’s Tarantino through and through and I have to say the climax is a moment of emotional release I don’t think I’ve felt in a movie in a very long time.  DiCaprio is at his absolute best and Pitt still oozes charisma like it’s his natural state of being. 

And that’s what makes me a little sad I guess. This is about one last chance to recapture the innocence of that time. To safeguard the medium we love from the senseless violence of the world around it. 

And if that sounds silly to you...this is a fairy tale after all

Ethan C Williams liked these reviews