Darren Carver-Balsiger’s review published on Letterboxd:
I don't think Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is a massive return to form for Quentin Tarantino, or a film that really ends his recent slump, but it is his best work in a decade. Like Jackie Brown and The Hateful Eight, this is Tarantino being a bit more mature in his storytelling, but at the same time this is clearly a project made with passion and heart.
There's a throbbing sense of history to Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (made complete with a killer soundtrack) and the homages to 60s cinema and television are real highlights. Unfortunately the film meanders a tad too much, without the non-linear conceit of Pulp Fiction, and so ends up a little haphazard. Like a lot of late Tarantino works, it's pure indulgence without innovation.
What makes Once Upon a Time in Hollywood so much better than it should be is the stellar final act which is so razor-focused and brilliantly precise. The comedic alternative take on the Manson Family murders is one of Tarantino's finest set-pieces, remarkably tasteful to history whilst deliciously tasteless in violence. Sharon Tate as a character is barely even in the movie, giving Tarantino space to do his own thing and allowing his creativity to flow into a fun re-imagining.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is a big film (I mean, look at the amazing and lengthy cast list) but Tarantino carries it to a superb finale that stands among the very greatest in recent cinema. It's a bumpy ride, but a wonderfully slobbering love letter to old Hollywood and its eccentricities.