In 1992, film buff Quentin Tarantino kicked off his writing and directing career with Reservoir Dogs. Tarantino’s razor-sharp dialogue and unique ways of telling a story quickly created a very influential style of filmmaking, which became especially prominent with 1994’s Pulp Fiction. Almost thirty years later, Tarantino has made his stamp as being regarded as one of the most beloved filmmakers of all time. Does his newest film Once Upon a Time in Hollywood continue his streak?
The year is 1969 and Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) is facing a crossroad in his life. Struggling to continue an acting career in LA after starring in the canceled TV show Bounty Law, he fears that his star is fading as his time as a leading man is quickly being replaced by doing odd jobs playing guest villains. It doesn’t help that living next door to him is famous director Roman Polanski and his wife/ actress Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie). Dalton’s best friend and stunt man Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) finds himself in a unique scenario when he picks up a hitchhiker that happens to be a cult member of Charles Manson (Adelaide’s own Damien Herriman).
The most appealing part of watching a Tarantino movie is seeing his passion for pop culture leaping out the screen. In each of his films, you get to experience his knowledge of the very niche and specific genres that often coincide with international cinema while his hilariously memorable characters interact in this world. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is certainly no exception as the film provides a very carefree look in a specific time in filmmaking. From the recreations of the cheesy black and white western shows to the cars and buildings, OUATIH is like watching a breezy documentary of people that work in the entertainment industry in the late ’60s living their lives over a week. It should be noted that the portrayal of the Manson family is not a direct biographical retelling, but Tarantino reenacting history in his movies differently is nothing new.
Another aspect of what makes OUATIH such a treat to watch the incredibly stellar all-star cast, who bring career-defining performances. DiCaprio and Pitt’s double-screen debut was wonderfully executed as it was both endearing and funny to watch Booth consult with Dalton’s insecurities about his acting career. But the film is also littered with cameo and impersonations, which is definitely worth watching the movie for.
Overall, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is yet another wonderfully crafted masterpiece from Quentin Tarantino. While the film focuses on people living their lives more than an overarching story, it cannot be helped being captivated by the excellent acting from the all-star cast and high-end production. I can definitely recommend the movie to fans of Tarantino, DiCaprio, Pitt, and Robbie or if you want a look into a bygone era.
Rating: ★★★★(1/2) out of 5
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is in cinemas now.