Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood ★★★★★

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

As with Inglourious Basterds, the wildly over-the-top historical revisionism of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood throws Tarantino’s trademark blend of postmodern artifice and genre pastiche into sharper relief. Only in this film the characters are better developed (even Waltz’s amazing performance in Basterds doesn’t mitigate his character’s inherent cartoonishness), with much of the movie's abundant humor driven by their vividly drawn personalities. And the fact that some of its best moments come when watching an actor as talented and successful as Leonardo DiCaprio playing an actor struggling with both his career and his craft adds an extra metatextual layer to a film already criss-crossed with interconnected webs of reference and meaning. At points it almost serves as a frame story for a number of segments that both pay tribute to and lovingly parody the TV shows and Hollywood movies of the period. This is definitely Tarantino’s most complex, most original film since Pulp Fiction, but it’s so sprawling and strange, it may take some time to garner the appreciation it deserves.

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