Image via Sony Pictures

“Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood” Review

Is Tarantino’s latest another marvel of cinema or a dud amidst the summer popcorn flicks?

I’m undecided whether the advertising for this movie is unhelpful in setting up the movie or deceptively brilliant at creating no expectations for you before seeing the film. The movie just looks like it has amazing actors in it and it’s being directed by one of the best directors of our time, but what is it about? What makes this film worth seeing over The Lion King or Stuber or whatever else people would like to see? What’s its selling point? Well – it has Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, and Margot Robbie in a movie directed by Quentin Tarantino and that’s the best way to put it. 

The film isn’t really about anything in particular until the climax of the movie. Normally, that sounds like the movie is bad, uninteresting, or unable to decide what narrative it wants to focus on. Normally, you would be correct. However, with Tarintino, he knows what he is doing and purposely breaks out of those rules. Ultimately, I left feeling like those decisions were not made lightly and helped make a more impactful ending.

Like all of Tarintino’s films, this movie is an homage to movies, specifically Hollywood in the ‘50s and ‘60s. The sets, costumes, even down to the way certain parts are shot are a testament to the level of care devoted to the smallest of details. The cinematography, as usual, is wonderful and establishes not only where we’re at and what we we’re doing, but what is going on.

Pitt DiCaprio
Image via Sony Pictures

The best aspect of the film is how clever it is in dealing with tension. After reading/listening to some other reviews, I went in thinking there were going to be points that were slower and didn’t need to be there. I never hit that point though. Perhaps because I knew who Margot Robbie was playing and the story surrounding that, I was able to feel the tension where someone who may not have picked up on that fact or knows what happens to her would feel. There are some, including Sharon Tate’s sister, Debra, who feel that Robbie should have had more lines or more time on the screen. To a degree, I completely understand that argument. I liked the nuance, though, that she just seemed like someone living their own life without a care or worry–all the while the audience knows too well. It was somber and thoughtful in a way that I think a memoir or an homage should be while wrapped up in a fictional telling of a struggling actor.

More movies need to be made with Pitt and Dicaprio as friends. They were so fun and did a great job playing off of each other. Both are so committed to their characters, and the energy is palpable. They feel like two people who have been best friends for nine years, and there is a love and respect shown between them. Dicaprio plays a character whose emotions are erratic, whereas Pitt plays a down-to-earth-but-will-cut-you kind of guy. It’s funny to watch them support each other or just talk about TV.

Much like Inglorious Bastards, the events that surround the film are subject to Tarantino’s own interpretation, but you will not mind in the slightest. In this world, it comes organically and how the characters respond to it makes the homage all the more bittersweet. Speaking of, this film capitalizes on an “end of an era” mood, almost hinting that Tarintino may only be doing a few more films. I’d heavily advise to check this movie out if you like movies or are tired of dumb popcorn flicks.

Rating: 4.5/5

Image via Sony Pictures
Written by Eric Brockett
(Eric is a millennial and thus thinks his opinion on the internet matters. Sometimes he has opinions on films too. He thinks people care. He knows they don’t.)


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