Once Upon A Time In…Hollywood review by Bobby Blakey
In my opinion Quentin Tarantino is one of the greatest filmmakers of all time. His films always offer up great characters, dialogue and everything in between. His latest film, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood is one of my most anticipated films of the year and as usual features an impressive cast including Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, Dakota Fanning, Al Pacino, Scoot McNairy, Luke Perry, Lena Dunham, Damian Lewis, Emile Hirsch, Maya Hawke, Bruce Dern, Clifton Collins Jr., Rumer Willis, Zoe Bell, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Kurt Russell, Timothy Olyphant, James Marsden and more. Could this be yet another hit for the filmmaker or will it fail to live up to the Hollywood Golden Age?
Once Upon A Time In Hollywood follows 1969 Los Angeles, where everything is changing, as TV star Rick Dalton and his longtime stunt double Cliff Booth make their way around an industry they hardly recognize anymore. The ninth film from the writer-director features a large ensemble cast and multiple storylines in a tribute to the final moments of Hollywood’s golden age. For those that are a bit confused by the premise of this film it is focused on DiCaprio and Pitt for the majority of the film with the Sharon Tate played perfectly by Margot Robbie and Manson aspects playing as more of a catalyst to the time and history for it all to come together. Much like Inglorious Bastards this is a Tarantino vision of history and not a fact based story.
I loved this take on the Manson/Tate story as it has been told through numerous outlets over the years, but this one felt more like a respect to what happened and slap in the face to the Manson cult on numerous levels. I can sort of see how it can throw some off due to the subject matter being addressed, but in the end it becomes your own depiction of how you see what is done on screen and it worked
for me. This is a small element to a bigger story that plays up as not only a homage of old Hollywood, but also of Tarantino’s films themselves. Here he has given himself a world that he clearly loves to play in and does so like only he can.
I thought both DiCaprio and Pitt were excellent bringing a bonding chemistry that just works and making the vintage Tarantino dialogue just pop off screen. DiCaprio brings charisma to the role while still struggling with his falling fame as a tortured actor in the industry. I loved seeing his breakdowns and pompous mentality that was only outshined by Pitts laid back attitude. Pitt rides through this film like a James Dean with all the cool you can take and attitude that makes you believe he is the stuntman he is portraying. The relationship between the two of them is what this whole film is about as they both struggle with the changes in Hollywood and their careers.
Like most Tarantino films it does bounce around through the timeline at times to explore various characters stories and expand on their mythos making for some great moments. The film offers up portrayals of real life people as well as fictionalized that blend together to create this classic Hollywood while still keeping it open to tell Tarantino’s own story. While he is only in the film briefly actor Mike Moh who portrays Bruce Lee is awesome. At times it is truly hard to tell that they weren’t able to bring Lee back to life for a cameo. The film not surprisingly has a long run time, but for me never felt slow and kept me intrigued to where these guys were heading and how Tarantino was going to cap it off. Be ready for the signature Tarantino violence that while brief is here and is such a great scene to watch.
For me it is always hard to rank Tarantino’s films as they all take on different things and always have greatness to them and this one is no different. In overall tone and execution there are elements that are fresh to his style that makes me put this one in the top of the list of his filmography and once again eager to see what genius comes next.
In addition to the film this release includes bonus content including over twenty minutes of additional scenes and five behind the scenes featurettes. As if the movie and these features weren’t already enough they are releasing numerous versions of the film through Walmart, Best Buy and Target as well as 4K Collector’s Edition with all offering up their own exclusives.
Journey back to the 60s with Tarantino’s latest masterpiece when Once Upon A Time….In Hollywood available now on digital, 4K Ultra, Blu-ray and DVD from Sony Pictures.