Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood ★★★★★

Waiting for a Quentin Tarantino film to finally come out three weeks after it's already opened in The States was torture. Trying not to read reviews of it, but not being able to help yourself, I felt like an alcoholic waiting on the bar opening. I must admit though, it was worth fucking waiting for.

It's becoming increasingly obvious that Leonardo DiCaprio is improving with age. That Oscar win aside, the now 44 year old actor continues to bring the thunder with stellar turns that elevate his standing much more than his golden statuette has, he's a bona fide superstar, and in this film he shows exactly why. Playing an actor who's once promising career has been curtailed by alcohol and poor choices, there's a scene in this film where DiCaprio's Rick Dalton nails a scene so perfectly that it is declared as the best acting his young co-star has ever seen, and she's not far off, because Dalton's powerful turn is quite mesmerising. DiCaprio mixes it up nicely here, but he's well supported too, with Brad Pitt defying his age to rock out with his cock out as one of Tarantino's most memorable characters. Pitt's tremendous performance as the almost indestructible stuntman and all-round badass, Cliff Booth, is a thing of beauty, just like Pitt himself, and I couldn't keep my eyes off him.

The scene between Booth and Bruce Lee is the standout of the first hour or so, just hilariously funny and beautifully choreographed, but this is a film that meanders off into interesting territory when both Cliff and Rick are apart. Off to Spahn Ranch for an encounter with Manson's Family, fight club with Bruce Lee, or Sharon's visit to the cinema. The Margot Robbie role as Sharon Tate has been criticised as not substantial enough, but in truth this isn't the story of Sharon's murder or her relationship with Polanski, it's about Rick and Cliff and Quentin's "Love letter to 60's Hollywood", so anything goes. I loved the violence too, which was bone-crunching and quite extreme, but I laughed my ass off when Rick appeared with that flame-thrower. It's not rushed, it's just such a cool looking and engrossing film that had me fixated on what on earth was going to happen next. I also couldn't decide who I liked most, Pitt or DiCaprio, although Brandy the Pitbull was awesome too, and all the small cameos worked a treat. From Pacino and Olyphant, Russell and Bell, Dern and Fanning, to possibly THE best ever portrayal of Steve McQueen I've ever seen from Damian Lewis, this is just typical Tarantino that left me desperate to instantly see it again. I probably won't see a better film this year, and for once, the film lived up to the hype.

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