Once Upon A Time In Hollywood
Distributor: Sony Pictures Releasing
Production Companies: Columbia Pictures, Bona Film Group, Heyday Films & Visiona Romantica
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Producers: David Heyman, Shannon McIntosh & Quentin Tarantino
Scriptwriter: Quentin Tarantino
Main Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, Emile Hirsch, Margaret Qualley, Timothy Olyphant, Austin Butler, Dakota Fanning, Bruce Dern & Al Pacino
Released: July 30, 2019
Running Time: 161 Minutes
Once Upon A Time In Hollywood is Quentin Tarantino’s ninth film in his extremely impressive career, featuring an all-star cast including Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt and Margot Robbie to name a few. The film follows DiCaprio’s Rick Dalton – a fading TV lead struggling in the current industry – and his stuntman Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) as they strive to achieve fame and success in the film industry during the final years of Hollywood’s Golden Age in 1969 Los Angeles. Alongside the pair you have Robbie’s Sharon Tate, a movie star of the time who happens to live next door to Rick.
The film aims to show an insight into what the industry and LA itself were like back in the 60s, dealing with Rick’s career slowly deteriorating and Cliff getting mixed up in some dirty business with an unnerving group of ‘Hippies’. Meanwhile, Sharon is starring in one of the biggest movies out at the time, whilst being involved in a three-way affair. The three stories all come to an incredible climax in an ending that I won’t spoil in this review but do touch upon later.
The best part about this film is without a doubt the cast Tarantino brought together. Leonardo DiCaprio was on top form as always with an extremely captivating performance as Rick Dalton. His performance manages to show both sides of an egotistical TV star, with the expensive cars, fancy apartment and carefree lifestyle masquerading a large amount of self-doubt and internal struggle. This is brought to a front during – in my opinion – Leo’s best scene in the movie, alongside the fantastic Julia Butters as Trudi. Leo’s masterful performance within a performance when filming a guest appearance for the show is a fantastic juxtaposition to moments later as Trudi compliments his acting, seeing Rick well up with happiness.
Pitt’s Cliff Booth is a charismatic and brooding sidekick to DiCaprio’s Dalton, and his performance hints at a darker side to his character which is briefly shown in a number of scenes, especially towards the later parts of the film. His character lacks the depth of DiCaprio’s, however in the context of the film it he serves his purpose well. Margot Robbie plays Sharon Tate, one of the leading female stars in the industry at the time. Her performance isn’t the most fleshed out, with hints towards a love triangle between her character and two others, but she spends the majority of the film watching her own film. It could be argued that Robbie was wasted in this film due her talent as an actress, however her character doesn’t play nearly as large of a role as the aforementioned duo but serves the story well.
Another major pulling point of the film is the time period it is set. Late 60’s Hollywood is portrayed in an extremely vibrant and fashionable style, with the costume, set designs, props and music all making the 60s setting extremely realistic. Even the way the characters act and interact with each other is full of the Hollywood swagger and style from the time period.
You can’t talk about a Tarantino film without mentioning the man himself. All of Tarantino’s trademarks shine through in his direction. The camera angles are stylistic as ever, I found the high number of side profile shots especially so. Like most of his films, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood starts as a slow burner, relying heavily on the dialogue and characters themselves – and with Tarantino’s writing and a cast like this you can afford to do so. The majority of the film seems much less gory and violent than his usual style, but he more than makes up for this in the final act. With an incredible mix of action, violence, comedic moments and storytelling paying off to form an extremely satisfying ending for any Tarantino fan.
Whilst Once Upon A Time In Hollywood doesn’t quite match the standards of the Tarantino classics such as Pulp Fiction or Inglorious Basterds, it is a worthy addition to his incredible filmography. A slow burner with fantastic pay-off in quintessential Tarantino fashion, accompanied by a fantastic cast, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood is definitely worth a visit to the cinema to watch.
Overall Rating: 8.5/10 – Excellent