After the devastating events of Avengers: Infinity War (2018), the universe is in ruins. With the help of remaining allies, the Avengers assemble once more in order to reverse Thanos' actions and restore balance to the universe.
Robert Downey Jr.,
Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood visits 1969 Los Angeles, where everything is changing, as TV star Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his longtime stunt double Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) 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.
In one scene, Roman Polanski walks to his car sporting a blue velour suit with ruffled white cravat. Django wears almost the exact same outfit in Tarantino's earlier film Django Unchained (2012). See more »
We see the Polanski-character using a French coffee press. The device was invented in 1929 but the design we see here looks like the one of the 80s. See more »
[to Jay Sebring]
Aww, what's the matter? You afraid I'll tell Jim Morrison you were dancing to Paul Revere & The Raiders? Are they not cool enough for you?
See more »
This film breaks the motif of denoting "The (number) film by Quentin Tarantino" in the opening or ending credits; instead it simply states "Written and Directed by Quentin Tarantino." See more »
The version of the film that screened at The Cannes Film Festival was 159 minutes, two minutes shorter than the version released in theaters in the US. Tarantino reportedly added in more scenes of Sharon Tate, including extending the scene where she picks up a hitchhiker. See more »
A loving tribute to the last days of Hollywood's golden age layered with themes of fame and identity.
Finally, 'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood' has been released in Australia after an excruciating extra few weeks long wait where I've been avoiding discussion posts and spoilers like the plague. I saw it opening night and I had an absolute blast.
This is probably Quention Tarantino's most reserved and laid back film to date, and while that may be offputing to some, I found it to be a very refreshing change from his stories driven by an insastionable quest for revenge. It is probably the closest in tone to 'Pulp Fiction' Tarantino's ever been, as the film is very story-lite and primarily depicts a day in the life of these characters, except it's linear and it continuiously cuts between the stories occurring at the same time.
Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt deliver some of the best performances of their career here. Both their characters are defined by themes of fame and identity. Rick Dalton is faced with his dwindling fame as he is typecast in guest roles on Western show after Western show, which leads him struggling to find his own identity within the industry through his attempts to formulate a successful leading man film career. It's eerily similar to Leo's transition from his pretty boy persona from the 90s into the phenomenal actor he is today. Being the phenomenal actor he is though, he just unleashes a spectrum of emotions that gives his character so much sympathy, relatability and overall depth, whereas most actors would just make the character a joke. Cliff Booth on the other hand struggles to find his own individual identity due to him living in the shadow of Rick's fame. He represents the working class man in Hollywood that helps everything work, and Brad is very nonchalant and laid back. He just gives off an aura of cool.
Whenever these two are on screen together, their dynamic is just electric to the point where it almost feels like a buddy film. Their chemistry makes it seem these two have been friends for a long time and have a massive mutual respect for each other.
Margot Robbie was pretty great as Sharon Tate too, but she was definitely under-utilised. Her character is the antithesis to Rick and Cliff's cynical nature, as she is so high spirited and optimistic. I definitely interpreted that the themes of fame and identity are relevant to her character as well, but it doesn't unfold onscreen through a character arc like the other two leads. Instead, it let's the viewer themselves interpret her fame and identity, which is arguably defined by her tragic fate within the general public. But Tarantino completely subverts this perception of Tate which is both tasteful and respectful to her legacy.
On a technical level, this film is astounding. Before seeing this, I'd say 'Kill Bill Vol. 1' was Tarantino's best looking film, but this, this just knocks out it of the park as the production design and art direction are off the chart. The fact that every single set piece has been constructed practically and is actually in front of the camera when it is being shot is an absolutely remarkable feat. It is such a breath of fresh air to see a big-budget wide-release film that does not heavily rely on CGI to create its illusions. There are so many interior shots of characters in their car driving past real locations like Cinemarama and the Chinese Theatre, or even Taco Bell, that just further solidifies the reality of this setting. The idea of the having the entire soundtrack provided by music playing on the radio and the TV is so creatively clever and ingenious. There are real advertisements and announcements from that era which act as segways between the tracks which just further immerses the viewer. You really feel like you're on a movie set. You feel like you're in Rick Dalton's house. You feel like you're in Hollywood, 1969. The setting itself is just as much of a character as the leads.
The way I've been gushing about this film makes it seem like it's a flawless masterpiece, but it's not. It is a Tarantino film and all of his movies have serious flaws. There is narration introduced long into the runtime, like 'The Hateful Eight', and that is a bit off putting, but it serves a better purpose here than the former as it explains more than what is simply happening onscreen. Although the film is story-lite, this does bring about a lack of conflict and consequence for most of the film, and when drama does come into play, it can feel a little jarring and out of place. Also the fact that it is story-lite results in this film being Tarantino's least dialogue driven one yet. That's not necessarily a ditraction from the film itself, as it is more of a visual experience than a vocal one, but I find the main draw to Tarantino's films is the dialogue. There are great conversations that do take place, but I can't remember any happening for at least the first half hour. And finally, I wish Leo and Brad were onscreen together just a little bit more, as they're mostly off on their own adventures separately, which are still great, but it lacks the amount of intrigue I have when they're together. Any other problems I had would be minor nitpicks, and spoilers, but they don't really matter in the long scheme.
Overall, this was definitely the most fun I've had at the cinema all year. It is certainly not Tarantino's best, but with someone who has as high as a reputation as him, you cannot hold this film to a fault when comparing it to his near flawless filmography. More importantly, however, it is one of the best films I've seen this year so far, as it is so rare and enlightening to see a big-budget wide-release movie that is an original story and has a legitimate creative force guiding it. It's a more mesmering rather than entertaining experience, and if you're just willing to sit back and chill out with it, you're gonna be in for a good time.
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