Once upon a time in Quentin Tarantino’s Twisted Mind
I honestly don’t even know where to begin with this film. One of my favorite tarantino movies of all time is “Inglourious Basterds”. I thought it was his “masterpiece”, so to speak. Now after watching “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”, I think this is my new favorite QuentinTarintino film. Once upon a time is Tarintinos most ballsy film to date. The style, the dialogue, the plot and don’t even get me started on that ending.
The movie throws us right into the mix introducing us to the main protagonist, Rick Dalton (An always magnificent Leonard Dicaprio). Rick Dalton was the star of the hit tv show “Bounty Law”, yet his days are becoming numbered. He has no been reduced to “heavy” roles, a terminology I was never familiar with, but basically, he has become the laughing stock of hollywood and for all intents and purposes, a “sell-out”.
Sliding right next to Rick is his trusted stuntman, Cliff Booth ( Brad pitt’s best role to date”). We learn that Rick and Cliff are best buds and nearly inseparable. When Rick isn’t on screen, Cliff nearly steals all the scenes he’s in. Brad pitt is in his prime in this role, gone are the days of being the “pretty boy” and now we get to see him in a mature and interesting role. Only a director like Tarintino could bring a performance like this out of an already top-tier actor.
The movie takes place in 1969, a time of war, peace and love and most importantly, Charles Manson (Damon Herriman). I think the most divisive part of this film is the actual lack of “Manson” moments. When I first heard QT was taking on the story of Manson and Sharon Tate, my heart nearly stopped. What kind of crazy, over the top, insane scenes would we see. Sadly to say, not much at all. Which was a personal bummer, but to be fair, the movie was never advertised as a “Manson” movie and now I understand why.
Which brings me to Sharon Tate ( A completely underused Margot Robbie). Margot Robbie basically just plays eye-candy in this film, she still somehow manages to own every scene she’s in, just bringing more evidence of her starpower. I did struggle to understand why QT decided to cast Margot in such a “background” role, surely he could have cast any young actress, but if anything. It’s an easy paycheck for Margot and hey, who doesn’t want to be in a QT film?
The heart of Once Upon a Time is in its two main characters, Rick and Cliff. We follow these two through the ups and downs of show business, their lives, their ambitions and their regrets. What I love about QT is he takes risks, this movie does not stick to any sort of “formula”for better or for worse. If QT wants to throw in a narrator and abandon this idea for an hour to bring him back suddenly. He will, it’s in moments like this that once upon a time shines, he does what he wants and he makes the film he wants to make.
I think this is a lost art in cinema, especially with movie studios lurking down the throats of directors and making sure the film has some sort of “normalcy” to appeal to mainstream audiences. QT throws all of that out the window to make one of the most creative films I’ve seen in a long time, between the cinematography, the dialogue and just some of the most bizzare movie scenes, this is a wild ride.
I don’t want to give too much of this film away in fear of spoiling it, but I will say that there are a number of scenes that I believe will go down in cinema history (brad pitt exploring the manson ranch), along with some fun movie set pieces. The times the mansons are on screen, they are truly a creepy prescene, with the manson girls taking most of the spotlight, they become a force to be reckoned with.
Giving off a mood of inviting you over for a night of sex, drugs and rock-n-roll only to cut your throat in the middle of the night. It is one of my hopes that QT at some point decides to take the horror genre as he clearly shows he can handle it.
My final thoughts on “Once upon a time in hollywood” are this. It is going to split audiences down the middle, with an “all over the place” plot and ending that will truly have people talking for the months to come, this is QT in his prime, he truly shows his love for film and character development in this film. If you’re looking for a wild time and QT madness, this is the film of the summer for you. I only hope Tarintino decides to disregard is “ten movie” cutoff and keep churning out films like this until the end of his life. He is truly a lover of cinema and it shows in every inch of this film