Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood ★★★★★

Quentin Tarantino loves cinema. Let’s face it, I don't think I have ever seen a filmmaker who pours his passion into his filmography as much as he does. Every single film he’s made has had some homage or tribute to certain genres. Hell some scenes in his films have characters discussing movies very critically. Michael Fassbender’s character in Inglorious Basterds was a film critic/historian turned soldier for crying out loud!

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is basically Tarantino the film buff taking front stage. It’s definitely not for everyone. It’s got its share of flaws that I can’t deny. The pacing can get very self-indulgent at many points. Many moments could’ve been tighter or shortened and the film would have been better. There’s also a lack of tension throughout most of the film which results in a lack of stakes as well. Say what you will about Hateful Eight but there was a sense of tension in there. There really wasn’t a lot of that. Margot Robbie has some scenes but her character of Sharon Tate doesn’t get a lot to do and as a result feels like a wasted character. You could literally make her appearance just as a cameo and the film wouldn’t be any different.

BUT WITH ALL THAT SAID...

Despite the lack of tension, I love how restrained this film is compared to other Tarantino films. Even more than Jackie Brown, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is very much relaxed and just soaks in the setting the film is in. Being 1969 Hollywood where the golden age was about to end and the Art house films and blockbusters were soon going to dominate LA. Leo and Brad are just phenomenal together. Pitt plays the more laid-back friend Cliff Booth while Leo completely deserves another Oscar for this performance. Rick Dalton basically represents how popular actors can become less relevant as time moves on and Hollywood changes. It can also be seen as a meta commentary for Tarantino himself as he is no longer the new boy that flipped the wheel with Pulp Fiction and is now a movie veteran. Though the climax, without giving anything away, does offer classic Tarantino violence that’s just as gory as it is over the top. Similar to Inglorious, the film takes an iconic historical event and twists it into a new way. In this case, it’s the Charles Manson family and their murder of Sharon Tate. Again, I won’t say what happens but it doesn’t end the way you think. There’s also some great special appearances by Kurt Russell, Al Pacino, Zoë Bell and much more.

While I agree there are glaring problems, I just love this film. Defiantly one of my favorite of Tarantino’s films. I had a great time with my rewatch and this just made all worth it in the end.

Edit: I have decided to give the film 5 stars though I still agree it has flaws. Call it Tarantino’s flawed masterpiece if you will.

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