Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood ★★★★★

"You're Rick fucking Dalton, don't you forget it."

While some of his films (Jackie Brown, Pulp Fiction) don't fit perfectly into the expected genre constraints, structure and tropes, Once Upon A Time In... Hollywood is the first time Quentin Tarantino has almost entirely abandoned genre cinema - and it's glorious; the formulaic nature of Crime or Western filmmaking, as good as some of Tarantino's films are when experimenting with them, is precisely what Once Upon A Time In... Hollywood thrives without. The rambling nature of the film creates a breezy and dreamy atmosphere, one that presents Rick Dalton, Cliff Booth and Sharon Tate as real people rather than characters. We observe their day-to-day life and struggles in a way that is not only refreshing and shockingly new to Tarantino, but mature; this is clearly not only the product of nostalgia (of which it certainly is), but also the clear result of Tarantino's own aging and reflection on the passing of time, and how much these fleeting moments truly matter.

Once Upon A Time In... Hollywood could be seen as Tarantino's Roma (2018 - or even 1972 for that matter), and while it certainly is a memory piece - as evident by the ecstatic attention to detail in the gorgeous and delicate recreation of 1969 Hollywood - it is so much more than that. This is far and away the most thematically dense film that Tarantino has made since possibly Pulp Fiction; I haven't been able to get this film of of my mind since I left my showing last night. This film is gorgeous, funny, and - which is a first for Quentin Tarantino - gentle.

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