We all have our favorite Quentin Tarantino film. It may be the cult-classic Pulp Fiction or the campy Kill Bill movies. Personally, my heart goes to the World War 2-inspired film, Inglourious Basterds. No matter what our reasons are, one thing is for sure: Tarantino tapped into our wild outrageous sides with each film that he made. Now in his ninth and announced penultimate film, Tarantino is back in his element but this time playing it under the backdrop of the Golden Hollywood 60s era! Bring in the glitz and glamour and a flair of the Western because Once Upon A Time…in Hollywood took me for a ride!
Just Like The Old Times
Tarantino is not the only one back for his ninth film in Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood. Starring here are two of the lead actors he has worked with before: Brad Pitt (Inglourious Basterds) and Leonardo diCaprio (Django Unchained). Having two of Hollywood’s leading men in a movie is already a promise on its own. Mix in one of the world’s loved director then you just know that something great is up. Is that the case though? Well, if you ask me, the answer is both a yes and a no and let me tell you why.
Once Upon A Time In Hollywood took every detail from the bygone era with an eagle eye. The set, the costumes, and even the nuances of the actors screamed 60s! The intricacy to detail is definitely noteworthy. Getting this right is one part of the equation of creating a successful period film. With the aesthetic and setting in check, we now have to look on the other aspect which is the story. Honestly, this is where the film kind of felt like a letdown.
The Version of the Story
Alright, Bingers. Without spoiling the highlights of the film, Once Upon a Time In Hollywood took a momentous event during the era which involved a cult and a horrendous crime. You probably know what I am talking about. But that is to say that the movie centered its narrative there. It was merely used as a backdrop while putting the spotlight on Pitt and DiCaprio’s characters. Their characters- an actor and a stuntman- where fictional. I honestly thought 90% of the film that they were real person and the actors were doing a great part in bringing them back to life. Apparently, that was not the case. That raises the point that the performances were among the top highlights of the movie.
Aesthetics: check. Performance: check. At this point, we can say that Once Upon A Time in Hollywood is turning out to be a success but if I were to be honest, not really. The story felt rather flat, save for the exciting 10 minutes toward the end of the film. It felt, to me, that there were multiple plot points that were being forced to happen at once. This, in the end, results into having a drawn out film which raised the uncertainty that it was going nowhere. But then again, save for the exciting finale, this film would have been among Tarantino’s lowest.
Once Upon A Time In Hollywood is obviously Quentin Tarantino’s love letter to the Golden Age of cinema. His love for the craft and apparent bastardization of it is a joy to watch. This is no Inglourious Basterds and definitely no Kill Bill but having every touch of Tarantino alone makes it worthwhile.
I just wish it had not been that long.
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Cast: Leonardo diCaprio, Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie
Binge-level: 4 out of 5 stars