Review: ONCE UPON A TIME… IN HOLLYWOOD Is An Out Of Control Epic Poem About LA’s Golden Age

FIRST IMPRESSION

Long, over the top, and fantastically fun, Once Upon a Time...In Hollywood is a hilariously twisted, bloody buddy comedy fairy tale that pays homage to a bygone era.
Directing
Writing
Acting

Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood is a sprawling ode to a version of Southern California that no longer exists. Comprised of humor, heart, and half-true history, Hollywood is another wildly entertaining addition to the Tarantino lexicon.

With a meandering opening and extended second act, the film is in no rush to get to where it is going. It milks its two hour and thirty nine-minute run time in a way that will make fans of the film fawn and critics of Tarantino grind his or her teeth. It expertly lulls us in to a sense of calm so that when Brad Pitt’s Cliff Booth goes to the famous Spahn Ranch in the second act, the shift from Hollywood hangout flick to darkly, hilarious action thriller feels natural and never abrupt because of the care placed into the set up.

As with all Tarantino cinema, the performances in this film are something to behold. Leonardo DiCaprio is unsurprisingly great as Hollywood has-been Rick Dalton. He is incredibly funny and embraces the physicality of the comedy. His character wears his heart on his sleeve, yet Leo never feels over the top portraying him. Margot Robbie delivers a stunningly accurate Sharon Tate and makes the most of her surprisingly limited screen time. Mike Moh is easily the most convincing actor playing a real-life person in his incredible turn as Bruce Lee. Margaret Qualley has an immense amount of fun with her role, and it shows. She is a highlight of the second act and drives home the chaotic hippy Manson girl motif perfectly. While the entire cast is more than game and each giving life to the unique voice Tarantino has crafted for them, Brad Pitt is the one who steals the show. As Rick’s loyal stuntman, Cliff Booth, Pitt has never been better. He is outrageously hilarious and effortlessly cool. Every moment he is on screen is consistently entertaining as he creates a truly classic Tarantino character. His timing is perfect, and like his costar, he embraces the physicality of the role in the best kind of way. Cliff Booth may very well be the part Pitt was born to play as his charisma, humor, and charm are on full display. Whether he is sharing the screen with DiCaprio, Qualley, his dog, or a giant bloody mary, he is knocking it out of the park and, if there is any justice in the world, winning himself his first Academy Award.

In a who’s who of talented creatives, it is still the man helming it all who deserves the deepest discussion. Quentin Tarantino’s work can be described in a plethora of ways. It is divisive, controversial, outlandish, and hysterical. His supporters would call him visionary while his detractors would call him indulgent (Both would have plenty of evidence to point to in this film alone), but one thing no one could ever accuse him of is being boring. He always goes all out and Hollywood is no exception. His writing is witty and layered. He creates a world predicated upon the familiar and the abstract as he melds together reality and fiction in a way that has become his trademark. For someone who is known for such an in your face style, Tarantino shows a great deal of restraint and subtly in this screenplay. He drops in hints and clues that we dismiss as just good fun, but they come back later for big narrative payoffs. His humor is the best it has ever been, and he creates a unique voice for each of his many characters. His direction is paced and interesting as he sets up recurring shots and edits to add to the humor and narrative of the piece. Among the more successful of these are the repeated walking and driving shots and the uses of jump cuts during Dalton’s meltdowns on set. The soundtrack is phenomenal and perfectly paces the action as it lends itself towards the wide array of tones present in the almost three hours of screen time.

This film is classic Tarantino in that it is apt to be the source of much argument in the coming months and years. Some will lambaste it as a problematic and messy ego trip, while others will praise the distinguished performances and subtly brilliant film making. If Tarantino has gone through stages as a filmmaker, this would be the finale of his revenge fantasy and revisionist history phase. He caps off his desire to retell our past by wondering what would happen if the characters he grew up idolizing were able to save the version of Hollywood he so loved. For an artist whose work is often criticized for being shallow, this film is immensely personal, and whether you hate or love the man who made it, I think we all can agree it tells us a lot about him. More than he has ever told us before. If there were a four-hour cut, I would be the first in line.

TRENDING THIS WEEK

Batwoman | Season 1 Episode 9 | How Queer Everything Is Today! Promo | The CW

Watch new episodes on Sunday and stream Batwoman from the beginning, free only on The CW app: https://go.cwtv.com/BATgenyt SUBSCRIBE: http://go.cwtv.com/YTSubscribe About BATWOMAN: Kate Kane (Ruby Rose) soars through the shadowed streets of Gotham as Batwoman. But don’t call her a hero yet. In a city desperate for a savior, she must first overcome her own…

Legacies | Season 2 Episode 10 | This Is Why We Don’t Entrust Plans to Muppet Babies Promo | The CW

Stream new episodes of Legacies Fridays, free only on The CW App: https://go.cwtv.com/LGCShowyt SUBSCRIBE: http://go.cwtv.com/YTSubscribe About LEGACIES: The show centers around Hope Mikaelson, the vampire-witch-werewolf hybrid daughter of Hayley Marshall-Kenner and Klaus Mikaelson, and her time at a school for the supernatural called The Salvatore School for the Young and Gifted. Connect with LEGACIES online:…

The New Pope: My Time Has Come (Episode 1 Clip) | HBO

Cardinal Voiello makes a compelling case for the papacy. #HBO #TheNewPope #TheNewPopeHBO Subscribe to HBO on YouTube: https://goo.gl/wtFYd7 Academy Award-winning director Paolo Sorrentino returns with The New Pope, his second original series set in the world of the modern papacy. Written by Sorrenttino with Umberto Contarello and Stefano Bises, the nine-episode original series features Jude…

Crisis on Infinite Earths | Over-length | Season Trailer | The CW

Stream the 5-episode crossover, Crisis on Infinite Earths, free only on The CW App! SUBSCRIBE: http://go.cwtv.com/YTSubscribe About The CW: Official YouTube Channel for The CW Network featuring the hit series Riverdale, as well as Black Lightning, The Flash, Arrow, Supergirl, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, Supernatural, The 100, Dynasty, In the Dark, and Roswell, New Mexico.…

Next on Episode 7 | Work in Progress | SHOWTIME

Having ignored the advice of her friends, Abby finally confesses the truth to Chris (Theo Germaine) after a painting puts her in a trance. Starring Abby McEnany. Watch Work in Progress on Sundays at 10/9c. #WorkInProgress Subscribe to the SHOWTIME YouTube channel: http://goo.gl/esCMib Don’t have SHOWTIME? Order now: http://s.sho.com/1HbTNpQ Get SHOWTIME merchandise now: http://sho.com/store_yt_showtime Get…

Mo’Nique & Friends: Live from Atlanta | Official Teaser | SHOWTIME Comedy

Comedy legend Mo'Nique hosts an amazing night of comedy featuring her friends, who also happen to be amazing comedians. Starring Prince T-Dub, Just Nesh, Tone-X, Correy Bell and Donnell Rawlings. Premieres Friday, February 7 at 10/9c on SHOWTIME. #SHOWTIMEComedy Subscribe to the SHOWTIME channel for more clips: http://goo.gl/esCMib Don’t have SHOWTIME? Order now: http://s.sho.com/1HbTNpQ Get…

Black Widow | Special Look | Reaction

Ashley reacts to and discusses the Black Widow special look video. ORIGINAL VIDEO: https://youtu.be/_1eykFE1fSA Share your thoughts about the trailer in the comments below. And don't forget to subscribe to Ashley Talks Movies for more reviews and reactions. Other Ways to Follow ►TWITTER: https://bit.ly/34jpii3 ►LETTERBOXD: https://bit.ly/2N68562 Intro / Outro Music: –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– Fresh by Ikson https://www.soundcloud.com/ikson…

Supergirl | Season 5 Episode 10 | The Bottle Episode Scene | The CW

Stream new episodes of Supergirl Mondays, free only on The CW App: http://go.cwtv.com/genSPGyt SUBSCRIBE: http://go.cwtv.com/YTSubscribe About SUPERGIRL: SUPERGIRL is based on the DC character Kara Zor-El, Superman's cousin, who after 12 years of keeping her powers a secret on Earth, decides to finally embrace her superhuman abilities and be the hero she was always meant…
Chris Aresco
Chris Aresco
Hi. I’m Chris. I’m the one who wrote the review you just read. Now you are reading this bio that I wrote. I hope this means you liked the review so much you are sending me a present and not that you hated it so much that you are finding my Instagram account so you can write me mean dm’s.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here