Film Review: Once Upon A Time In Hollywood
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is the latest (and 9th) film to become a part of Quentin Tarantino’s universe of films. Its apt to say that this Tarantino Project has some common links to his previous films or as they call it “Easter eggs” which have, in a sense, made all his movies part of one common universe, much like the MCU. Given the star cast along with the man running the show, one would naturally assume that this film has all the makings of, in the words of good ol’ Jim Ross, an “Instant Classic”. But is it worthy of being called an “Instant Classic”? Read on…
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is a strange film. It has all the shades of what you would expect from a Tarantino film, but the film is much more than that. Its unlike any of his films out there and he has laid more emphasis on “storytelling” and has experimented to the fullest. And it is because of his experimentation that he has produced this brilliantly strange gem of a movie. Contrary to what the title would suggest, DiCaprio and Pitt’s characters are inspired by multiple personalities of the 60’s. Margo Robbie’s Sharon Tate is the only character that’s based on the then actress and if moviegoers read the actual story about Sharon Tate and how she was related to the controversial Roman Polanski (The director who went on to win the Academy Award for the Pianist), they would learn more about her than the actual film. In Fact, it would be beneficial to know the actual story behind her before you watch the movie. (Don’t fret, it won’t spoil anything) Robbie’s character hardly interacts with Pitt’s and DiCaprio’s characters and because of the dynamic experimentation by Tarantino, it’s something everyone would appreciate because it allows us to learn more about these characters.
As far as performances go, they are spot on. No surprises here, DiCaprio and Pitt’s camaraderie is well-written and both of their characters are complementary to each other. DiCaprio’s Rick Dalton oozes “emotions” and moviegoers are in for a joy at the scenes showcasing his character’s trials and tribulations. Brad Pitt, however, is a different story. Think of Pitt’s Cliff Booth as a seasoned Rusty Ryan meets Tyler Durden and that should be enough to tell you how good his performance was. Margot Robbie looked convincing as a rising 60’s starlet and if you evaluate the kind of roles she has done in the past, this film just contributes to the range she has an actress and raises her stock through the roof. If you’ve been following the film, the film also has Bruce Lee’s (played my Michael Moh) story arc and has attracted outrage from martial artists all over. All we can say is that Moh did a good job in his “extended cameo” and established that the film truly is an ode to the cinema by Tarantino.
The film does slow down in the middle as it digs too deep into DiCaprio’s character arc but picks right back up before the amazingly executed climax and we can claim with confidence that the ending sequence will be deemed “Iconic” by a lot of people coming out of the theatres and years to come. The beauty of the film is that there is nothing to “Spoil” as such and a person is just a google search away from uncovering the story to what’s been described as “One of the darkest Times in Hollywood”. As we mentioned, it’s not your usual Tarantino film and you would be left with more questions than answers by the end of it. But that is only if you look at it from the outside (metaphorically speaking). Look at it closely and you’ll realize that its nothing but a tribute to people who give their life for cinema and to the films of those times and ends with a happy ending. But that is the irony in all of it. You may ask how? The answer to that is rather simple – Watch the film!
Rating – 3.5/5
Director – Quentin Tarantino
Starring – Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie