Once Upon A Time In Hollywood is Quentin Tarantino’s fairytale love letter to Tinseltown

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RELAX. It’s a million times better than Inglorious Basterds, a billion times better than The Hateful Eight and easily matches Pulp Fiction.

Quentin’s ninth is very funny, beautifully framed and edited, horrifically violent, impeccably written and only occasionally meandering.

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, Kurt Russell, Timothy Olyphant
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For a viewer there’s elements that are morally questionable, and snatches of truly squeamish discomfort but for me that is exactly what cinema should be. Eminently watchable with tons to talk about.

It’s 1969 Hollywood and the film is framed around three “kind of” separate storylines in a similar vein to Pulp Fiction. Old-fashioned actors are under pressure from the new wave of cinema (Midnight Cowboy has just been released and anti-hero is the buzzword on everyones lips).

LICKING THEIR LIPS, SHARPENING KNIVES

One such fading star, Rick Dalton (Leonardo Di Caprio), is simultaneously trying to worm his way into the big time whilst also secretly coming to terms with the fact he’s a washed-up has-been. His driver/stunt double/possible wife-killer Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) is seemingly his only buddy offering encouragement and support whenever necessary.

As Rick’s megastar neighbours, Roman Polanski and Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie), veer towards their grisly conclusion, we allow Quentin to not only bask in the golden age of cinema, but also hold up a grotesque mirror, showing the horror it’s hometown did it’s very best to ignore.

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Brad Pitt is so unbelievably handsome and Leonardo DiCaprio simply mesmerising[/caption]

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Margot Robbie’s wide-eyed Sharon Tate brings some much needed smile to the film[/caption]

You can’t have a film about Hollywood without some serious stars and this does not disappoint. Its three leads are, unsurprisingly, f*****g incredible arguably at their very best. The wait to see DiCaprio and Pitt share scenes has been well worth the wait.

Pitt is so unbelievably handsome, laid back and funny it makes me sick whereas the internal struggle DiCaprio manifests is mesmerising. Margot Robbie’s wide-eyed Tate brings some much needed smile to the film, especially when blagging her way into her own film.

To his credit Tarantino has always said this is not a film about the Tate murder and that is true. The only person to get less screen time than Tate is Manson himself but you can really feel Charles and his gang peering round every corner, licking their lips and sharpening their knives. Remember kids Never trust a hippy.


Annoyingly, there’s too much to get across in this short review from the brilliant set pieces (a fight scene with Bruce Lee is *chef’s kiss*), the amazing fake movies (The Fourteen Fists of McCluskey) the sheer avalanche of stars passing through (all of whom are blown out of the water by eight year old Julia Butters) and an inevitably throbbing soundtrack. It’s almost too much for one viewing. I immediately wanted to see it again and again.

The “twist” ending won’t please everyone and the sheer brutality of the violence on display is as full-on and gratuitous as it gets (despite being played largely for laughs) but this is, after all, Tarantino’s fairytale love letter to Hollywood in which he tackles his critics head on, baring his teeth.

From Once Upon a Time to Happy Ever After.


Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (18)

★★★★★



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