“Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood” is Another Tarantino Classic


Once Upon a Time in Hollywood Press Release Poster.

Joshua Letona, Contributing Writer

Promising 10 films out of his career, movie lovers are now at the ninth film by director Quentin Tarantino. After back-to-back westerns, Tarantino sets for a 60s Hollywood love letter, putting his stamp on his new film “Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood.”

Set in the late 1960s, “Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood” follows actor Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his stuntman Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) as they struggle to keep their stardom in a changing industry all the while having run-ins with Bruce Lee (Mike Moh), Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie) and infamous cult leader Charles Manson (Damon Herriman).

In Tarantino fashion, much of the film is made of incredibly elaborate and long sequences that allow audiences to marinate in each scene. For some, this may feel meandering as the film’s pace is best described as slow.

Those looking for high octane violence will be disappointed as such action occurs towards the finale. The ending will likely divide audiences on whether they love or hate the final product of “Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood”.

Though, what the film lacks in story, it makes up in character.

Tarantino’s latest creation is a character piece for Pitt and DiCaprio as it explores the inner workings of Hollywood. Rick Dalton is one of DiCaprio’s finest performances as he utilizes irony by referencing his own personal career during the film. This adds incredible depth and subtlety to his character’s struggle to remain a star.

Pitt, however, steals the show with a more subdued performance. Cliff Booth serves in great contrast to Rick Dalton’s charisma. Pitt brings deadpan deliveries that result in some of the film’s most hilarious moments. Pitt’s story is also the most interesting as his character runs into the Manson family cult.

Both leads have amazing chemistry off the bat which make their friendship the heart of the film throughout its two-hour and 40-minute run time.

While many other stars of the time appear played by amazing talents, many of them remain in incredibly small roles. Margot Robbie as Sharon Tate is the only character to receive a substantial role outside Pitt and DiCaprio.

Many feared the direction of writing Tate into the film would bring controversy due to the real life Manson murders, but Tarantino and Robbie handle the character with great care.

The film captures the innocence and pureness of the Hollywood actress. Robbie’s scenes, while short, stand out because they celebrate the life of Sharon Tate rather than focusing on her death. Tarantino sets Tate to represent a Hollywood that he seems to long for.

In his ninth film, the audience witnesses the works of a matured Tarantino; losing his cynical view on the world in exchange for something more optimistic.

“Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood” will not be for everyone, but remains a powerful love letter to Hollywood with all the hallmarks of another Tarantino classic.