Dir. Quentin Tarantino
Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)
“To my wife and all my sweethearts. May they never meet…”
Quentin Tarantino is back with his 9th film – spinning the tall tale of what might have happened ‘Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood’. This is a love letter to 1969 Los Angeles, where everything is changing, as fading TV star Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his long-time stunt double Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) make their way around an industry they hardly recognize anymore.
Once Upon a Time is chock full of A-list stars even in small roles e.g. Al Pacino pops up for about five minutes but that’s one of the things that makes this such a rich experience. The attention to detail from the era features dodgy hippies, comedy western and war films, miniskirts and plenty of groovy music – it’s an ode to a time before mobile phones and internet...There is a breezy feelgood vibe to this bygone era of macho movie stars and old school filmmaking.
The lead characters have incredible chemistry – their bromance is a joy to watch. DiCaprio is on top form as Dalton, an actor whose luck has been down since his hit TV western series ‘Bounty Law’. Brad’s Cliff Booth, Rick's best friend but also his driver, odd-job man and kind of bodyguard too.
Booth’s is a ready-made iconic, a war vet who lives a simple life hanging out with Rick and living in a trailer behind a Drive-In movie theatre with his loyal dog Brandy. Rick meanwhile lives in a cool Hollywood Hills home alongside Hollywood royalty such as director Roman Polanski (Rafal Zawierucha) and his starlet wife Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie). All is good as the two likeable leads bounce off each other – as the narrator says in Cliff Rick has: ‘a buddy who is more than a brother and a little less than a wife.’
The 18 rating and warning of ‘strong bloody violence’ however means that things are liable to get dangerous before the end credits and sure enough when the violence hits it is seriously over-the-top.
Trouble is hinted at from the moment Cliff see Pussycat (Margaret Qualley) – a hippie who might be caught up in the infamous Manson family cult. But with superb laugh-out-loud scenes like when Cliff gets to fight Bruce Lee (Mike Moh) on the set of a film it still comes as a shocking change of gear climax.
Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood is a superb cinematic experience.
Out of a potential 5 - you have to go with a Darkmatters:
(5 - Tarantino bringing his 'A' game for a good time)
Awesomeness ööööö – Great fun bro banter and quality searing violence
Laughs ööö – Often very funny
Horror öööö (last 10 mins) – Do the words 'Strong bloody violence' mean anything to you?
Spiritual Enlightenment ööö - Friendship is key
'my fav scene: Cliff vs Bruce Lee'