“Once Upon A Time In Hollywood” is written and directed by Quench Tarantino, stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie as well as huge ensemble including Kurt Russell, Bruce Dern, Emile Hirsch, Timothy Olyphant, Dakota Fanning, Luke Perry, Mike Moh & Al Pacino. This marks the 9th film that Tarantino had both written and directed and sees a few of cast from his past films to be in this including DiCaprio, Pitt, Russell & Dern among others.
In the Los Angeles, 1969, veteran actor Rick Dalton (DiCaprio) feels as if his career is beginning to fade. He meets casting director, Marvin Schwarz (Pacino) who tries convince Dalton to appear in what is called “Spaghetti westerns” to which Dalton is displeased. Sharon Tate (Robbie) and her husband, famed director, Roman Polanski (played by Rafal Zawierucha) live next door to Dalton, which Dalton believes being in Polanski’s next could be the break he needs. With Dalton, is his best friend and stunt double, Cliff Booth (Pitt). Booth is former war veteran turned stuntman who struggling to find work himself after an altercation between him and Bruce Lee (Moh), martial arts star of the hit show “The Green Hornet” cost him his job. While Dalton and Booth navigate Hollywood, Tate and Jay Sebring (Hirsch) are visited at Polanski’s house by an unknown stranger looking for the previous owner of the house. That mysterious stranger is revealed to Charles Manson (played by Damon Herriman). With all this going, everyone is roaming the streets of Hollywood, trying to find themselves both career wise and socially. But soon the lines are blurred between Hollywood and social commentary as one of the most notorious and famous moments in all Hollywood is given a great retelling with a fantastic Tarantino twist.
In his incredible streak of movies, Tarantino does not miss a beat here. This was a fantastic movie with an even greater performances from DiCaprio & Pitt. Tarantino is probably the only director outside of Christopher Nolan & David Fincher, who has not had a bad film. As if “The Hateful Eight” & “Django Unchained” weren’t enough, “Hollywood” takes a radical approach of storytelling, going from comedy to drama and even suspense but then again a majority of his films follow similar patterns. The look and tone of 1969 L.A. / Hollywood was amazing. Margot Robbie as Sharon Tate was a good casting choice and gave a solid performance however she wasn’t in the film long enough to give a better one. On the other hand, I totally understand why she wasn’t. From a writing & storytelling standpoint, makes perfect sense.
Overall, great movie, not Tarantino’s best but nevertheless, always delivers quality entertainment. Very good performances from the 2 leading men, great storyline and visuals. Masterful filmmaking at its finest with a great writer and director as well as great ensemble cast. Not surprised that Brad Pitt won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor this past year. Still very surprised that Tarantino himself at this point in his career with his incredible resume hasn’t won an Academy Award for directing. He’s won Best Original Screenplay for films like “Pulp Fiction” and “Inglorious Bastards” but never for his unique and signature style of directing. Hopefully, the next one might just do it before his alleged retirement.