Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019) - USA
Reviewed by Andrew Chan (Film Critics Circle of Australia)
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The ninth film in Quentin Tarantino’s chartered filmography comes a classic approach to film making in a homage to Sergio Leone’s “Once Upon a Time in the West”, all those Spaghetti Westerns and to the Manson’s murders. The 1960s and 70s remains a period of time that Tarantino clearly enjoyed and embraced as if he wanted to experience that unique era in Hollywood where reality can be blurred with the movies of the time. This creates an illusion and mood that sets the tone for the film whilst allowing clever dialogue and strong lead characters (Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt) to excel upon. As the credit rolls, the film seems like a snapshot we have just experience as if we went on a time journey back in time. This will be a film that will stand the test of time.
Leonardo DiCaprio always had that classic on-screen charisma and produces a powerhouse performance as a fictional fading action star hanging on to an uncertain future from the main leading hero to big-part villainous roles. In a Oscar worthy performance DiCaprio aces through the character development and along with the equally brilliant Brad Pitt, playing his long time stunt double, we get a true old school blockbuster on display. Pitt plays the calmer and more relax of the duo as he ponders through life with a certain level of contentment that contrasts with DiCaprio fading fame. Margot Robbie plays the real life tragic beauty queen Sharon Tate, portrays the ultra positive-ness of Hollywood bygone era for actresses. Robbie best screen remains the moment she sees herself in a film she was in at a local cinema.
All in all, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” is by far the most matured outing by the famed auteur Tarantino and it is also his most classically directed film. Those expecting “Pulp Fiction” and “Inglorious Bastards” will be surprised at the less than speedy pace that the film adopts. It is the kind of film that never feels like the epic 162 minutes running time the audience immerse themselves to the era and characters alike. I thoroughly enjoyed this film the first time around with a cinematic experience, but it is certainly one that will lingers on you till the next viewing.
I rated it 9.5/10