Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood ★★★

Sure to be the most polarizing film of the year.

Floats and rambles around undoubtedly alluring characters, making lots of promises and dangling well-established historical resolutions, not unlike Tarantino performing his cinematic magic trick, though "the turn" never comes, and a potent wallop of an ending caps off the director's strangest, most puzzling work.

Tarantino is one of VERY few directors who could be allowed to make something like this. It indulges completely in its laborious pacing, mellow non-stakes narrative, and utter disregard for traditional structures. It's not that he hasn't experimented with structure and pace in the past, but never has he done so without the barrel of a gun pointed at the head of the leads. Its closest relative is likely Death Proof, where almost nothing seems to be happening until it does, very very quickly.

Despite the fact that when it comes to QT, you should expect the unexpected, this is still totally bewildering. The choices he makes, especially in its ultimate resolution (if you can call it that) are paralyzing. I imagine a second viewing might have me in a different place entirely, but for now this is a strange, strange film that I think purely cinematically, is probably his weakest material.

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