Once Upon a Time in Hollywood took more than 40 years to manifest, but legendary director Quentin Tarantino turned Tinseltown’s storied past, including its golden age and that age’s bloody end at the hands of Charles Manson, into a modern masterpiece.
Every star in the film industry shares the nightmare that one day their career will go up in flames. For our leading man, Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio), it seems like a done deal. All he can do is sit back and watch his legacy fall apart right in front of him. Alongside Dalton on his track to failure is Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt), Dalton’s longtime stunt double, whose work has been reduced to babysitting Dalton during the aging star’s drinking binges.
Running simultaneously alongside the duo’s story is the couple Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie) and Roman Polanski (Rafal Zawierucha)/Jay Sebring (Emile Hirsch)–it’s complicated–who unbeknownst to any of the characters, are the only hope that the duo has to reclaim their star power.
Every part of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood seems to fit into a pre-coded destination. There are a lot of words to describe the movie, but nostalgic seems the best fit. There’s a touch of class in the setting, cinematography, and production design. It takes us right back to the end of the 1960s.
Once Upon A Time In Hollywood possesses staying power. Especially if it wins any of the Oscars for which its earned nominations. However, while unearthing a man buried under career pressures, Tarantino cuts the wrong wire in a ticking time bomb. He ends up blowing up all the female characters.
It’s a pity that only a few female actresses get to say they truly portray characters in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. The rest seem like a breaker of monotony in a torrent of men. There are other slips in the film, including a sleep-inducing hour and a horrible ending.
Nonetheless, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is reflective of a director with impeccable skills. Adding to this is Robert Richardson’s engaging cinematography, the rich setting, and the evocative costumer Arianne Phillips.