Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019)

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Photo from The Verge

Director Quentin Tarantino’s penultimate film centers on Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his stuntman Cliff (Brad Pitt) as they both try to stay relevant in their fields of work. Actress Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie) is their newest neighbor and they find that life living next to her ended up a bit more crazy than they thought.

The cast is littered with superstar talent and they all delivered. I had a lot of fun with DiCaprio in this role with his sensitivity and vulnerability about his loss of stardom. Margot Robbie was great as Tate, but she ultimately needed more things to do.

I remember when this movie was announced, many people were worried since the Manson murders were the backdrop of the film. This is not really a movie about that though. It’s a film about friendship between an actor and his stuntman. And in Taratino fashion, there is some alternate history being made.

The film is littered with Hollywood references, everything to spaghetti westerns to Bruce Lee to Roman Polanski. As a film fan, it was cool to be immersed in that environment, but if you are not familiar with that type of stuff that may go over your head. There is some controversy over Bruce Lee’s characterization in the film, which is understandable. Also in what world does Brad Pitt win in a fight with Bruce Lee? Yeah…I don’t think so.

However fun the acting was to watch, the movie was overly long and could have been shorten down majorly. The pacing could have picked up more because I did feel the time tick by. This is not my favorite Tarantino flick by any means, but it’s an enjoyable watch.

The last 20 to 25 minutes of the film are the most rewarding. The whole film is basically setting up and leading to this one scene. Though I can see how some would think it’s too grotesque, but would it be a Tarantino film without gratuity?

Overall, the setting and the acting are what make this film. Though the pacing could have been better, Taratino continues to show that he can do anything and make it work.

I give Once Upon a Time in Hollywood a B.

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