Once Upon a Time in Hollywood - Movie Review

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood - Movie Review

The 2019 hit directed by Quentin Tarantino starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, and Margot Robbie is a study on contradictions. While Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is a direct descendent of the New Hollywood style of cinema in terms of the legacy of the filmmaker who helmed it, it is also an attempt to negate that whole era of American movie history.

The central premise is an homage to the classic, old school Hollywood with all of its predictability and myopia of vision. It basically asks: what if Charles Manson didn’t influence his followers to commit such heinous crimes? Why couldn’t we have real-life cowboys to come in and save the day?

Well, these hypotheticals are difficult to entertain seriously but they are at the heart of Tarantino’s recent cinematic output. What if people fought off the Nazis? How about slave owners? And so on.

Leonardo DiCaprio plays a television star, Rick Dalton, desperately looking for work in Hollywood. Yet, he is slowly realizing that perhaps his best days are behind him. Brad Pitt plays Cliff Booth, his best friend and mysterious stuntman, who - probably - has a dark past.

Rick happens to be Roman Polanski’s and Sharon Tate’s neighbor, and from there, you can perhaps try to imagine what happens next, without there being too many spoilers.

Side by side, it’s hard to understand why DiCaprio and Pitt haven’t been paired up together before since they look so similar and the chemistry is palpable.

This casting is definitely a stroke of genius here. Both actors turn in perhaps the best and most subtle performances of their careers, and in this case, the accolades are much deserved.

However, the film as a whole is a bit muddled, and unfortunately, Margot Robbie’s immense talent isn’t given much to do in the film, except to exert her easygoing charm as Sharon Tate’s beautiful ghost.

The script is a bit off, and the movie perhaps runs over for at least twenty minutes. It also presents a deeply cynical view of the 1960s that might not go over well with all audiences. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood has its charms as a weird and funny fairy tale, but proceed with caution.

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Updated 2 years ago