Scorcaesar’s review published on Letterboxd:
Quentin Tarantino is a modern filmmaker dressed in 1960's attire. He has such a superfluous love for the artform that it almost becomes a fault. While he’s managed to be subtle in the past, it sticks out like a sore thumb in the multiple layers of paragraphs he covers his characters in. Still, he’s asserted himself as a breaker of conventions and developed a distinct voice in the modern climate.
It’s disarming to watch a Tarantino film with such a muddled narrative. Nobody’s out for revenge or on a quest for grandeur - it’s so regular. In my initial viewing, I was left incredibly disappointed. I felt tricked and betrayed – not quite that dramatic – but, you know how it is.
His usual tonality of anhydrous hatred is edged out by serving us with two stars who don’t exactly ooze evil. Instead, we get to bask in their daily chores and coeval turmoil. Fun right? Yes!
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood has an assured groove that it politely asks you to settle into. We drive around picturesque 60’s Hollywood, with block-long views glaced in hormonal tenacity. Movie sets, theatres, funky motors – it can all be described with one simple word; authentic.
What isn’t authentic - as I’m sure Tarantino’s history teacher would agree - is the unravelling of historic events. Believe it or not, there are some actual historic figures present in Once that may or may not end up the same way they did in real life. He took a long hard look at the Manson family for example and said with profound conviction; fuck those hippies.
Once is Tarantinos personal love-letter to old Hollywood. I know we say that about him all the time, but in this one it’s for real. He’s made a movie that exists without any tangible purpose. It subverts your expectations by informing you not to have any in the first place. When you lay down your forecasts, you're invited to take part in Tarantino's joy for cinema. That's where Once truly succeeds.