MOVIE: ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD
DIRECTOR: QUENTIN TARANTINO
CAST: LEONARDO DICAPRIO, BRAD PITT,
MARGOT ROBBIE, AL PACINO
“Once Upon A Time In Hollywood” is one of those films that artfully pays homage to the good old ’60s of Hollywood. This movie is based on the murder of the dashingly attractive Hollywood actress Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie) or... is it? A major part of the movie is highly focused the story of Hollywood actor Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his stunt double Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) and their way of life instead of dwelling deep into the personal affairs of Sharon Tate herself. It is with this intriguing story arc, that Tarantino plays his game of wit with the audience.
Rick Dalton seems to be a struggling actor in Hollywood who wishes to climb to the top but then is supposedly stuck in a quicksand by the seemingly negative roles he portrays in Hollywood TV while Cliff Booth, stays alongside him preventing Dalton from spraining his ankles and knees during action sequences! Parallel to this, we witness Sharon Tate who is engaged to her lover Jay Sebring (Emile Hirsch) and married to the hottest director in the town Roman Polanski (Rafal Zawierucha). The rest of the story focuses on the intersection of the lives of these three characters.
Tarantino pushes his characters to the extent that even the performance of an 8-year-old girl and a Rottweiler is noteworthy. DiCaprio has once again proved his versatility and leaves the audience transfixed in scenes where he swears and in another continue his portrayal of the antagonist back on TV. The 8-year-old “actor” utters the same verse that we would have said had we been in that place. He doesn’t overdo the part of a drunkard and performs what is expected of him. The pathos humour of DiCaprio and the dark humour of a drug-induced Brad Pitt which comes much later, jells well with the plot.
However, the portrayal of Bruce Lee could have been in a better light even though the humour worked for many. The times of the ’60s have been recreated aesthetically with the set pieces (unfortunately, Margot Robbie’s character is treated asone of them), and the movie posters placed in the background play an essential role in making the period feel appropriate. The long and parallel cuts used in the film enhances the flow of the story by constantly reminding us of how desperation burns slowly in the life of a struggling actor.
For those of you who felt that the director’s previous outing “The Hateful Eight” is a slow burn, then this might feel like an even slower burn, with the movie only picking up in the last 20 minutes.
For the large part of the film, we expect something big to happen and wait for it and when it does, we see the name card of the title followed by the ‘mad genius’ name appearing on it. Also, the references in the 60’s fall short of striking a chord with millennials as most of us seriously wouldn’t have watched those early TV shows of the ’60s era Hollywood mentioned in the film. Also for those who don’t know who Sharon Tate is and that she was murdered when she was pregnant, they may not get invested in her character at all.
For hardcore fans of “Pulp Fiction” and “Inglorious Bastards”, this one may disappoint you for its pace but then if you are ready to witness a “Tarantino-ish” drama filled with great performances and some gruesome violence in the climax portion...well, you are in for a treat!