Once Upon a Time in Hollywood Review

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood poster

Love him or hate him, Quentin Tarantino has put together a prolific resume of films. Seemingly every time he releases a film, it becomes an event for cinephiles, and now his ninth film is finally here. Is Once Upon a Time in Hollywood another Tarantino classic or is it one of his rare mediocre films?

Unfortunately, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood won’t be high on Tarantino’s resume. That being said, there is a lot to like about the film but you have to wonder what Tarantino had in mind with this film.

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood follows fading television star, Rick Dalton, his stuntman, Cliff Booth, and rising star, Sharon Tate, on their journey through the final years of Hollywood’s golden age.

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood - Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is a love letter to old-time Los Angeles, not just Hollywood. There’s a certain authenticity to the look of old Los Angeles that just feels special. Tarantino is able to take that special feeling and put it within this world. It’s like a time machine that transports you back to the Golden Age of Hollywood. As someone who has lived in LA all of his life, it’s nice to see what certain cities looked like back then.

As far as the film goes, this isn’t the best Tarantino film nor is it his worst. At best, it’s a mid-level Tarantino film. The film has a lot of great moments but it also has a lot of dull flat moments too. In addition, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood goes all over the place. Sure, this isn’t the first time that one of his films goes all over the place. Films like Pulp Fiction or Jackie Brown goes all over the place with its large cast of characters. However, this one doesn’t feel as cohesive as the others.

In other words, the film’s storyline leaves much to be desired. It’s not as engaging and it’s all over the place. It builds up certain storylines only to subvert those expectations to give you something different. But by messing with people’s expectations it becomes a double-edged sword. It will either make people love the film but there’s also a high chance that these will also piss people off too.

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood - Margot Robbie

Regardless, the film has a lot of fun character moments between Rick Dalton and Cliff Booth. These moments give them time to shine. Some of the best moments involve their journey through Hollywood. A lot of that has to do with Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt. Shocker, right?

But Leonardo DiCaprio gives an absolutely phenomenal performance as Rick Dalton. In a way, it’s similar to Kirk Lazarus’ line in Tropic Thunder. He’s a dude playing a dude disguised as another dude. In other words, DiCaprio is a great actor playing a bad actor trying to act like a decent actor. It’s a lot of fun seeing him in this role. At the same time, Brad Pitt brings fun and entertaining energy to the role. Not to mention, Pitt has some of the most entertaining and tense moments in the entire film.

On the other hand, Sharon Tate doesn’t have much of a presence or impact in the film. Yet it’s nice to see what life is like for an up and comer in Hollywood. But judging from the film, there is not much drama in that. She has some of the dullest moments in the entire film. That’s not Margot Robbie’s fault though. She can only do so much with what she’s been given.

Overall, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood isn’t a film that you’re expecting. So whatever you think the film is about, it’s not that. There’s a lot to digest in this film. But this kind of film doesn’t necessarily mean that the film is a sure-fire thing. Be prepared for anything and everything.

Rating: 3.5/5 atoms

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Mark Pacis
Mark Pacis 1488 posts

Self-proclaimed "Human IMDb" and comic book geek. Biggest Iron Man fan you'll probably ever meet.