Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood ★★★★

Would you look at that, I watched Once Upon a Time in Hollywood just in time for everyone to have already seen it twice over. Anyway, outside of how late I am to watching new releases, I have to say this is my favorite Tarantino film since Kill Bill. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is a project of passion, and Tarantino's vision shines through maturely. Rather than bog himself down with self-referential humor, Tarantino decides to focus more on character as the two leads struggle to keep their careers afloat. It considerably helps that Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio both give outstanding performances as the main character. Their chemistry together is flawless; even when they're on separate paths, their performances remain fantastic. Not to mention, Tarantino's skill at dialogue gets displayed once again; not one line feels fake or out of place.

All of the technical aspects are on point here. The dazzling production and costume design bring the Golden Age of Hollywood to life, and the cinematography captures it beautifully. Every little detail feels authentic and grounded in the period. Someone could've told me Tarantino used a time-travel machine to shoot this film and I would've believed it. What caught me off guard, in particular, were the editing and soundtrack choices. The soundtrack is astounding, and sometimes fit scenes so well that it felt like Tarantino designed sequences around it. There are even transitions placed throughout that fit incredibly well.

There are points where it feels meandering rather than developing characters, and I can think of at least one logical inconsistency. However, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is one of Tarantino's best regardless and shows his talent as a writer and filmmaker. It's a perfect tribute of the era that ends with a fantastic subversion of expectations. I refuse to spoil it here, for those of you who haven't seen it. The only heed of advice I'll give is don't expect Sharon Tate to be a prominent character. It may seem that way from the marketing, but it's not. Another one of Sony's bizarre marketing strategies that I hope didn't hurt the experience of filmgoers. Either way, it's worth watching, and I'm glad I finally saw it before it left theaters.

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