PG-16 | 2h 41min | August 2019
Quentin Tarantino! Leonardo DiCaprio! Brad Pitt! This alone should be a recommendation – and I bet that future movie critics will list this one as the best all-time-classics of this director. Yet I do not even want to discuss which would be his best movie, thinking of his brilliant oevre. The same problem might occur considering the 2 protagonists (who are working together here for the first time). In this move both are simply fantastic and perhaps a bit untypical, often close to a self-parody – you simply need to see this.
In case you have seen both actors in many roles before and know their “ticks”, you might wonder: When will Brad be eating something first? Which occasion will Leo use to raise a glass with a smile? Well, or maybe none of that. Find out for yourselves 🙂
Admittedly the length of the movie – almost 3h – has put me off first, at least for the premiere weekend. Yet watching the movie it does not seem too long, although it is a “slow burner” – unlike Kill Bill or Inglorious Basterds you won’t get action and gallons of blood exploding on the screen right from the start… instead, it builds slowly but steadily.
Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood visits 1969 Los Angeles, where everything is changing, Hippies and Vietnam war dominate news cycles. The faded 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…
Tarantino sticks to his patchwork style, mixing real events and people with his interpretation of events and/or imaginary characters and his own stories, under the disguise of a documentary (date inserts, narrative voice over by Kurt Russel).
Despite the fact it’s mostly fiction, I would recommend to study the Hollywood history of 1950s/60s a bit. For example who was this Natalie connected to a suspicious death, which Western and Crime TV series were on back then, who was this US cowboy becoming a huge star in Italo Westerns, the early stages of Bruce Lee’s career – and of course the connection between Sharon Tate (played by Margot Robbie) and the Manson Family. Otherwise you’d miss a lot of the fun identifying the friendly nods here…
Moreover, I think it is the most impressive list of talent so far gathered in a Tarantino movie (his 9th) – you cannot even list all of them. Some examples: Al Pacino, Kurt Russel, Bruce Dern, Emile Hirsch, Dakota Fanning, Damien Lewis, Timothy Olyphant … and it’s the last role of Luke Perry.
And I also have to mention the brilliant soundtrack, as a Deep Purple fan I naturally noticed that they appear e.g. with their version of “Hush”. Fantastic movie you will find enjoyable on so many levels.