Hello everybody! Back with another film review!
I have to say my anticipation for this film was big, as was everybody else’s it seems. The cast, the director, even the title, why wouldn’t we expect something great?
I knew practically nothing about the storyline and this film’s intentions when I watched this. I think it’s important to mention this because what you know beforehand definitely influences your response to this film. So keep in mind, I didn’t know what this was going to be about.
The best part of this movie in my opinion were the brilliant performances, especially by Leo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, and Margot Robbie. Obviously we know they are very talented actors but these roles gave them another opportunity to show us just how good they truly are. I was amazed. The rest of the cast was freakishly good, too. Certain scenes definitely gave me goosebumps.
What also really impressed me was the cinematography. Beautiful. The way this was shot is so good, at least to me. Robert Richardson, I’m not surprised he is one of three living persons who won the Academy Award for Best Cinematography three times. I especially loved the framing/distance and the colours! They were perfect for the setting.
Once Upon A Time In Hollywood is (..) dazzlingly shot in the celluloid-primary colours of sky blue and sunset gold.The Guardian
The biggest issue for me might have been the pacing, which is because it’s a Tarantino movie. Usually I wouldn’t mind it but in this film, you could feel the time slowly passing as it went on and on. You could really feel the 161 minute-length.
The plot. Oh the plot. Now here comes the me-not-knowing-much-beforehand into play. While watching the movie, I was constantly waiting for something to happen. There was no common theme, it seemed. I was honestly a bit confused. It felt like they were telling the story of Rick Dalton (played by DiCaprio) and Cliff Booth (played by Pitt) but it wasn’t continuous? Every now and then they’d digress from what I thought to be the main story. Suddenly Margot Robbie (Sharon Tate) was on the screen or other, seemingly random, characters.
Right after the movie ended, I just sat there thinking “what did I just watch?”. The whole storyline, but especially the ending, just confused me. Then, I went online. I wanted to understand what this film’s intentions were, what Tarantino’s intentions were. And then, it clicked. Things made sense. “Tarantino’s love letter to ’60s L.A.”, they called it. Of course. This film wasn’t made just to show a faded TV actor (Dalton, DiCaprio) and his stunt double (Booth, Pitt) striving to achieve fame, it showed the final years of Hollywood’s Golden Age in 1969 Los Angeles.
Quentin Tarantino’s exploitation black-comedy thriller Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood finds a pulp-fictionally redemptive take on the Manson nightmare in late-60s California.The Guardian
Had I known this beforehand, and more about the late 60s in LA, I definitely would have experienced this movie in a different way.
Now understanding this and knowing more, the ending is still not.. natural? I see why critics are split, some like it, some don’t. It was definitely a surprise. I cannot spoil it. You have to watch it for yourselves.
All in all, I’m still not sure what to say. I didn’t even manage to rate this on Letterboxd. Super unsure. It’s a very beautiful, interesting and well-done film, but it’s not for everybody.
I would recommend it, though. I think you just need to decide for yourselves.