Review – Once Upon A Time In Hollywood (2019)
Let’s get one thing out of the way before we start. I’m a huge Quentin Tarantino fan, so this review was never going to be anything but positive, but i have to say that this movie is as near to perfect as you could possibly get.
It’s his 9th outing and it’s an absolute stunner of a film.
Leonardo De Caprio plays Rick Dalton, a fading television actor, and Brad Pitt plays his friend, personal assistant and stunt double Cliff Booth. Both have seen better days and they both strive to acheive some kind of success in the last days of Hollywoods Golden Age, in 1969 Los Angelos.
It’s a difficult movie to define plotwise, as theres no actual story as such. There are two basic threads running throughout the film. Daltons attempts to regain the fame he once had with his trusty assistant, Booth, by his side, and the sinister backstory of the Manson Family, and the events leading up to the infamous murder of Sharon Tate and her friends constantly running in the background.
It’s an epic movie at nearly three hours in length, but there’s not one minute of screen time wasted. The film draws you in, right from the outset and doesn’t let you go until the final scene. Tarantino has recreated the late 60s with painstaking detail, right down to some of the famous people portrayed. Mama Cass is in there, as are Roman Polanski and Sharon Tate who both look the part, we also have Bruce Lee during his time playing The Green Hornets sidekick, Kato, but the one that struck me the most was Steve Mcqueen. Damian Lewis plays the “king of cool” to perfection. He looks and sounds just like him, and if they ever decide to do a screen biopic of this screen legend, I can’t think of anyone who could play him better.
As already stated this is a very hard movie to define, but who cares. There isn’t a single bad or slow scene in it, and it grips you from the opening frames. The sequence half way through, featuring Brad Pitt, picking up a hitchhiker we know to be one of the Manson family, and taking her back to the Spahn Ranch was especially striking to me. The sight of all those cult members glaring at him…..sinister and unnerving to put it mildly.
As for the usual trademark Tarantino violence, it’s mostly saved for the last reel, but when it hits, it really hits hard. What you also have to remember, is that despite the array of sixties stars portrayed, this is a work of pure fiction, and the ending totally reflects that. I spent most of the running time, waiting for what I thought was going to be the inevitable bloodsoaked finale, and, although it was violent as hell, I was completely thrown by what actually happened.
To sum up, this is an amazing movie. It has Tarantino written all over it, and i loved every minute of it.