Review: ONCE UPON A TIME… IN HOLLYWOOD Is Quentin Tarantino As We’ve Never Seen Him

FIRST IMPRESSION

Quentin Tarantino presents his ninth film in a way that feels completely different than any film he has released prior. A brilliant love letter to the era that birthed him, this may be Tarantino's magnum opus.
Writing
Directing
Acting
Technical Merit

Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood brings Quentin Tarantino back onto the big screen in a way we’ve never seen him before. With his ninth film, Tarantino seemingly wanted to radically shift his approach to filmmaking, while also keeping in touch with everything that his fans love about his films. What this means is that even though this film is full of incredibly realistic dialogue, razor sharp interactions, and some fantastic homages to the “Golden Age” of cinema, this is now presented in an entirely new manner. For those that thought 2015’s The Hateful Eight was slow-paced, Tarantino has doubled down and given audiences a calculated, nearly 3 hour epic, about one of the most influential years in America; and he pulls it off effortlessly.

Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood has a massive ensemble of a cast, with some massive names showing up for only one or two scenes. The reason being, is the three performances at the forefront of the film are running the show, and rightfully so. Leonardo DiCaprio plays Rick Dalton, a television star who is struggling in the latter half of his career to break into the film scene. With this struggle comes many scenes of introspection on legacy and talent, and it feels as if to some extent, Tarantino is talking directly through Dalton to his critics who have said “he’s lost it”. Brad Pitt plays Cliff Booth, Dalton’s trusty stuntman but also personal assistant. And just as Booth enjoys driving his friend around and running some of his errands, Pitt comfortably takes the role of supporting actor in such a way that he could be the lead of not only this film, but an entire film devoted to his mundane daily activities. When the two of them are together, they’re wildly entertaining and wonderfully add to the canon of legendary duos who came before them. Come awards season, it will be interesting to see how Pitt is billed because as supporting as he is, a co-lead push is very likely.

Once Upon A Time... In Hollywood
Leonardo DiCaprio as Rick Dalton, Brad Pitt as Cliff Booth, and Al Pacino as Marvin Schwarz in Quentin Tarantino’s ONCE UPON A TIME… IN HOLLYWOOD.

And somehow, one of the most impressive, yet reserved, aspects of this film is Margot Robbie as Sharon Tate. Early criticisms of this film called out Tarantino for underutilizing Robbie due to a massive lack of dialogue. Yet the magnificent Robbie doesn’t seem to need much to work with, because her performance is extremely subtle, yet crucial, to the film as a whole. She is the lens through which audiences can see what little innocence Hollywood had left during this time. And in reality as a viewer, knowing her ultimate fate makes each moment with her one that needs to be cherished. And it seems like Tarantino needed to wait this long to make a film such as this for this specific reason.

This is Tarantino at his most reserved and meditative. He basks in the sunbathed movie sets of Hollywood just as much as he revels in showing the neon-drenched Sunset Boulevard at the turn of the night. Tarantino has always shown his appreciation and devotion to films, but here, it feels different. While his other films show appreciation and pay homage, this is nothing but a deep gratitude and a way of saying thanks. It’s a way of taking audiences and saying, “This is what I’ve wanted to do my whole career. This is the reason why I am a filmmaker”. Could Tarantino have made this film a decade ago? It’s difficult to say, but it seems as if he did some serious self-reflection to prepare for this behemoth of a film, and it truly comes across as such. Make no mistake, there is plenty of self-indulgence throughout this film, and one of the most incredible cinematic moments of the year makes this clear.

Leonardo DiCaprio as Rick Dalton in Quentin Tarantino’s ONCE UPON A TIME… IN HOLLYWOOD.

This film will surely be divisive, and it’s an absolute shame. Many will, and have already begun, chalking up the film as pointless, boring, and meandering. On the contrary, this film is a massive achievement for Tarantino. It’s a direct result of his detractors claiming his career has been one large excessive indulgence. While Jackie Brown was incredibly restrained and unlike any other films in his catalog, this film takes what he did there and amplifies the calculated approach tenfold within Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood. And what is simultaneously so impressive, Tarantino did not make this to prove his detractors wrong. That just so happened to be the cherry on top in making what could be argued as his masterpiece, in a career full of masterpieces.

There has been much talk about whether or not Tarantino has one more film in him or not. He has always claimed after ten films he would retire, but as of late, he has hinted at this being the finale. As a fan of the filmmaker, this is obviously upsetting, but upon viewing Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood, this could be seen as a triumph. Simply put, this self-reflective and heartfelt love letter to what made Tarantino the director he is would be quite the send-off. Acting both as a beautiful tribute and as a cinematic, yet somewhat historical, look at Hollywood, this film hits all the goals it set out to achieve. And while even Tarantino fans may not enjoy this film for reasons that shouldn’t be spoiled, this is perhaps the most Tarantino-esque film yet. It’s just one that took him decades to make by getting everything else out of his system first.

Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood is currently playing in theaters.

TRENDING THIS WEEK

The 100 | The Dying Of The Light | Teaser | The CW

Stream new episodes of The 100 Thursdays free only on The CW: http://go.cwtv.com/genHNDyt SUBSCRIBE: http://go.cwtv.com/YTSubscribe About THE 100: The human race returns, after a 97-year exile in space, to a wildly transformed Earth...only to discover that the human race had never truly left. Clarke found herself forced to lead a band of disposable juvenile delinquents…

Rapid Fire Questions: Tommy Dorfman and Rainey Qualley • Love in the Time of Corona • Hulu

Get to know the cast of #LoveInTheTimeOfCorona as they answer #RapidFireQuestions. All episodes of Freeform's Love in the Time of Corona are now streaming. SUBSCRIBE TO HULU’S YOUTUBE CHANNEL Click the link to subscribe to our channel for the latest shows & updates: http://www.youtube.com/hulu?sub_confi START YOUR FREE TRIAL http://hulu.com/start FOLLOW US ON SOCIAL Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/hulu/…

Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel: Dark Reality of MMA (Promo) | HBO

It’s the dark, ugly reality of MMA. Fighters seeking an advantage cut drastic amounts of weight days before a bout, putting their lives at risk. Real Sports is all-new Tuesday, September 22 at 10PM on HBO and HBO Max. #HBO #RealSports Subscribe to HBO on YouTube: https://goo.gl/wtFYd7 Real Sports is television’s most-honored sports journalism program,…

Top 8 Intense Moments in World’s Toughest Race | Prime Video

It's called "World's Toughest Race" for a reason. This course pushes competitors beyond their limits. For some, this is a breaking point. These are the 8 most intense moments from World's Toughest Race. » SUBSCRIBE: http://bit.ly/PrimeVideoSubscribe From the creator of Survivor, 66 teams descend upon Fiji to compete in the most epic global adventure race…

Lovecraft Country Radio: Meet Me in Daegu | Episode 6 | HBO

In this episode of Lovecraft Country Radio, hosts Ashley C. Ford and Shannon Houston discuss Episode 6: "Meet Me In Daegu." First, they sit down with Jamie Chung, who plays Ji-ah, and discuss the episode's themes of monstrousness and the character's coming-of-age journey. Then, they're joined by Inkoo Kang, TV critic for The Hollywood Reporter,…

The Governor Kills Hershel | The Walking Dead Classic Scene

Rick opens up to try and make peace with the Governor, who has Hershel and Michonne as prisoners. Watch Classic Scenes from The Walking Dead: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z3U9Q0w53xM&list=PLP63B9XPsQt1LcCKwMK5sFVj7X0v0-KfN&index=3&t= Subscribe to The Walking Dead on YouTube: https://goo.gl/Tu5rSx #TWD #TheWalkingDead #HershelGreene THE WALKING DEAD: Like The Walking Dead on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheWalkingDeadAMC/ Follow The Walking Dead on Twitter: https://twitter.com/WalkingDead_AMC Visit…

‘Tariq’s Eulogy’ Ep. 2 Clip | Power Book II: Ghost | STARZ

In the end, Tariq spoke his truth about his father. Catch up on #PowerGhost on the #STARZ App. #PowerGhost #PowerBook2 #PowerNeverEnds #STARZ Subscribe to the STARZ YouTube Channel for more Power: http://bit.ly/1kalhP0 Get your special offer of the STARZ app: https://starz.tv/32s4aGT Like Power Book II: Ghost on Facebook: https://bit.ly/2Zfs6gw Follow Power Book II: Ghost on…

AXIOS on HBO: Melinda Gates on U.S. Leadership & COVID-19 Crisis (Clip) | HBO

Melinda Gates, Co-Chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, discusses leadership as the major determining factor in the impact of COVID-19 in the United States. #HBO #AxiosOnHBO #MelindaGates Subscribe to HBO on YouTube: https://goo.gl/wtFYd7 Known for delivering news, coverage, and insight with a distinctive brand of smart brevity, Axios on HBO helps viewers better…
Alex Papaioannou
Alex Papaioannou
Born and raised in New York. I've always loved all things pop culture, but my true passion lies within film. And the only thing that I love more than watching movies is writing about them! Some close runner-ups are: food, the Yankees, and hip-hop.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here