☞adn☜’s review published on Letterboxd:
in this town, it can all change, like that
Films needed saving this year and oh boy Tarantino saved the shit out of it. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood may not be Tarantino's best work, but it damn sure comes close to taking that spot. The directing is phenomenal, Quentin Tarantino exquisitely shows once again why he is one of this generation's auteurs. The performances from everyone, especially Leo and Brad, are extraordinary and the writing is superb, as were given dialogue that only Tarantino could pull off. If any other director/writer tried the conversations he works in this film; then half the audience would probably have fallen asleep. This also may be Tarantino's funniest film yet, and because of that, it made for one of my favorite theatre experiences of the year. I don't think I've laughed that hard at a movie this year as I did with Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. However, with all that said what may be the most impressive thing about this film is the cinematography and set pieces. Tarantino does a fantastic job transporting the audience into this world, and I never felt for a moment that this wasn't Hollywood during the '60s.
Nevertheless, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is not perfect, it's pretty damn close to it, but I do have an issue with the film, and that's pacing. Throughout the film, multiple scenes could be removed from the final cut and wouldn't affect the outcome of the movie at all. While other (necessary) parts of the film are way longer, then they have any right to be. Unnecessary scenes, info, and dialogue are my biggest gripe with Tarantino as a writer. You could, however, look on the other side and say that those "unnecessary" scenes are quite entertaining, and they usually are, and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is no exception. Although it has those elongated dialogues and unnecessary scenes, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is still pretty entertaining at being gratuitous so it somewhat (not entirely) makes up for it.
In a year full of unoriginal and disappointing films, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood truly stands out from the pack. Tarantino's ninth film is not without its faults, but what film isn't? Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, elegantly displays why Quentin Tarantino is one of the greatest filmmakers ever and is easily the best film of 2019. An obvious recommend.