Quentin Tarantino has always been one of my favorite directors, so naturally, I was excited for Once Upon A Time in Hollywood. With a stellar cast of this caliber, which includes Leonardo Dicaprio, Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, Al Pacino, and Luke Perry, it’s a recipe for success and it did not disappoint. Once Upon a Time is without a doubt one of the best films of the year and it delivers one of the best finales to any film of Quentin Tarantino.
The film takes place in the 1960’s Los Angeles nearing the time of the Mason murders, where Leonardo Dicaprio’s Rick Dalton must come to the realization with the help of his friend and stuntman colleague Cliff (Brad Pitt) that his stardom might be a thing of the past and both are trying to make it in a world they no longer recognize…
This movie was flat out amazing. Tarantino always writes interesting dialogue and compelling characters, and this film was no exception. Brad Pitt and Leonardo Dicaprio had fantastic chemistry with one another and they both had memorable scenes and dialogue. This is a very funny movie and more than a couple of moments had me laughing my ass off. One scene with Bruce Lee and Brad Pitt was amazing and it stands out above the rest as truly hilarious. Leonardo Dicaprio also has plenty of moment to shine here and I can definitely see him getting some Oscar buzz near Oscar season. He played his part perfectly and he completely disappears in the role, even more so than Brad Pitt. Don’t get me wrong, Brad Pitt was amazing but I always saw Brad Pitt. Here, Leonard Dicaprio became Rick Dalton.
The directing is top-notched like in any Tarantino film. It’s incredibly well shot and the 1960’s Hollywood feel real and lived in. There are a lot of driving shots and you can tell that Tarantino wanted to show every aspect of that time period of which the film takes place. I was transported in the 1960s and that’s the best compliment I can give a director, is when I’m actually transported into the film’s world and I forget that I’m watching a movie.
This movie is long but I could have watched another hour. I was that engrossed in the film’s narrative, which isn’t the usual narrative structure that we see in movies nowadays. Does it feel like a collection of moments at times rather than a narrative? Sure, but it’s so different from all the other movies that have come out recently that this felt like a breath of fresh air. This doesn’t feel like a movie that would be made today and that’s exciting. It’s a movie that feels like it was made completely out of the director’s vision and the studio gave him full reigns to do whatever he wanted.
As for the third act of this film, it is absolutely glorious. Along with Endgame, the second-best third act this year. It’s incredibly violent and awesome and I loved everything about it. It was incredibly amazing and it absolutely took liberties but it is fantastic. You don’t see it coming and when it happens it is shocking and hilarious all at once, which is quite often what Tarantino does.
As for negatives, I would say it’s perhaps twenty minutes too long and I would have liked to see Margot Robbie as Sharon Tate have more to do in this movie. There’s a reason why she’s in this movie but her character is barely developed and she doesn’t do anything in the film, which is a bummer when you have an actor like Margot Robbie in the role. And there are other cameos like Al Pacino and Dakota Fanning that are simply there just to be there and don’t add anything to the story but it’s not that big of a deal. It’s just something that I noticed while watching the movie.
Overall, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is once again another fantastic film by director Quentin Tarantino that offers witty dialogue, swift direction, compelling characters and a truly fantastic third act that will stay with you long after the movie is over.