If you feel like hanging out with Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt for 3 hours, then this movie will be for you. This is a classic “hang” movie, with Brad Pitts greatest performance.
A faded television actor and his stunt double strive to achieve fame and success in the film industry during the final years of Hollywood’s Golden Age
1969 Hollywood, a time and place of wonder. The air was cleaner, the sex was dirtier and Charles Manson was on the loose. Just an all-around magical time for Hollywood. At least that’s how Quentin Tarantino feels with his 9th film and an absolute masterpiece, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood.
It’s now been almost 30 years with Quentin Tarantino making movies for this world and he’s become one of the most discussed and polarizing directors we have ever seen. Before Tarantino came along, there was a certain mold and certain way that you crafted a film. Well, he literally tossed the rule book out the window and decided he would make his own rules and do things his own way. The rules in film making are what you make it, and that describes Quentin to a tee. That’s one of the best aspects of Tarantino. The fact that this guy loves cinema just as much as we do, in fact, he loves it more. When you have a filmmaker that’s this passionate about making movies, it’s a mixture for a fantastic product, and that’s why I love every single one of his films. They are so personal and so detailed that you can’t help but respect this guy so much. He reinvented how characters act and speak in movies. It’s like we are watching just a group of our friends hang out, and talk about whatever.
Once Upon A Time In Hollywood is no different. As we sit and watch Rick Dalton (Leo) a struggling partially over the hill TV actor trying to deal with the fact that he might be washed up. Along side him, his best friend and his stunt man Cliff Booth (Pitt). Now both of these characters are made up, and they are placed in this alternative reality of 1969 Hollywood, where they become intertwined with one of the most notorious and shocking events in American history, the Charles Manson murders. Cliff and Rick do everything together, and we are along for the ride. We even get to watch them watch a television program that Rick is apart of. In a very interesting scene, where for about 3 minutes you’re watching a fake television program and in the background hearing DiCaprio and Pitt colour commentate the whole thing. That’s why, whether or not you’re a fan of his work, this movie won’t be for everyone. It’s slow like I mentioned this is a hangout movie. It’s a day in the life kind of movie with a bunch of different perspectives. You’re watching a behind the scenes look at how television shows were made back in the hey-day. But this is what’s so fascinating about it. Leonardo DiCaprio, one of the greatest actors, is playing this vulnerable and at times kind of pathetic actor, and it’s so weird to see this side of him. But here’s the thing, Leo is so good at what’s he’s being asked to do, a guy who is just trying to stay relevant and a guy who used to be at the top of his game, feels threatened by younger stars and at times reminds the world that he is a brilliant actor. It was quite interesting to watch unfold. As for Brad Pitt, I personally believe this is his greatest role and performance. He’s the definition of cool, and just some of the things he does in this movie will be a talking point for a long time among moviegoers. Both Leo and Brad should be nominated for Oscars and I would love to see one of them bring home the gold.
Going in I thought this would heavily lean on the Mason murders and Sharon Tate, but that’s not what this movie is about, like at all. It’s a sub-plot that comes to a whirlwind of a conclusion in the last 20 minutes, but this is a movie about two friends who happen to fall in the middle of something. Margot Robbie as Sharon Tate was great. She isn’t given a lot to do or say, but it doesn’t mean she’s not a force when she’s on-screen. She’s so full of life and joy and brings such a ray of sunshine in every scene she’s in, that at times you forget about the horrific fate that she received. I can’t say anymore because knowing what I know now, and what I thought this movie was going to be about, were two totally different things, and I’m so glad this movie was marketed the way it was.
You really do feel that you’re being transported back to 1969 because every last detail in this thing is spot on. Another crowning achievement from Quentin. The cinematography, the colours, costumes, even the radio ads that you hear while our characters drive were apparently the exact radio ads being played that day in Los Angeles. Now if that isn’t dedication to your craft I don’t know what is. All of that, plus this insane cast of people, giving classic Tarantino performances, where you have this 8-year-old girl explaining in the movie to Leo, about her craft and why she can’t eat lunch because it messes with the way she acts, is so damn good. Julia Butters, an 8-year-old, blows Leo off the screen for 5 minutes and then you realize it’s because Tarantino is better than anyone at getting the most out of his cast. He writes dialogue almost better than anyone.
This is Quentin’s love letter to Hollywood, a place that he adores and admires, and it shows through his work. This is, without doubt, the most personal and compassionate thing he’s ever made. You never know what you’re getting when you walk into a Tarantino film, and you certainly don’t know how you’ll feel when you walk out. I was stunned and thrilled by what I watched, and this is certainly so far my favourite film of 2019.
Once Upon A Time In Hollywood = 94/100