ScreeningNotes’s review published on Letterboxd:
End of an Era / A Generation in Transition
Rick Dalton is on the downslope of his career, but he's not the only one forced to face the changing times. The whole country is shifting; new people with new values are coming in and replacing the old. Hippies thrive while 50's movie stars fade. Rick is more than a character, he's a metaphor. The one off-hand reference to Vietnam is more than just casual time-period signposting: America's reaction to the Vietnam War was an immense, pivotal point in our history, and more than anything that's what this movie is about: the end of an era and a generation in transition.
I also really loved this movie's texture: everything from the 35mm presentation to the period costumes to the editing (the flashbacks are so perfect) give this a really unique feel that reminded me most of Inherent Vice (and of Pynchon's writing style in general)—not only because they both take place at a similar point in America's history, but because they're both meandering tales that are more than happy to marinate in the atmosphere they've created. There are long shots of Brad Pitt just driving, or of Margot Robbie at the theater, and they're beautiful.
Also, and perhaps most importantly, this has to be the absolute pinnacle of Tarantino's foot fetishisms.
Oh, and this is more of a personal note, but I had been really down on Tarantino before this—I liked Hateful Eight a lot less the last time I saw it, and really did not like Django at all—and this may have reinvigorated my love for him as a director. Time will tell how much I really end up liking this one (as much as I hate talking ratings, it's not at all unlikely that I bump this up to 5 later, and it could even break into my top 3 for Tarantino) but for now I'm just happy to luxuriate in the experience of seeing this in a packed theater with a very vocal audience.