Movie Review #4864 ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD.
First one from Tarantino since The Hateful Eight in 2015, this is another timepiece set in 1969 around Hollywood actor Rick (Leonardo Di Caprio) & his stunt double/sidekick/buddy Cliff (Brad Pitt).
Underpinning the proceedings, lurking around the edges then progressively into view is Charles Manson’s gang of nutcases and we have a sense of anticipation that builds all the way through. Along the journey we have a number of little interconnecting Tarantino vignettes that introduce us to the celebrity list of the time including Sharon Tate, James Stacy, Roman Polanski, Bruce Lee, Steve McQueen, Sam Wanamaker, Michelle Phillips and the ubiquitous Mama Cass, showing each interacting with our two lads and reinforcing their place albeit fictional, in the hierarchies.
Tarantino does love to do the unexpected and how well he does it when we explore one chain of events yet another transpires, all the while not letting truth spoil a good story. But of course that’s what makes a Quentin flick different and without it we probably would have had a rather ho-hum affair. The two lead bods are great, especially di Caprio who moves between portrayals within portrayals to vulnerability & reality seamlessly as crossing a state line in the desert. The names are here too; Al Pacino, Kurt Russell, Bruce Dern, Michael Madsen, Brenda Vaccaro and Luke Perry in his last role.
Cinematography is great, it is long and perhaps a bit slow in patches but the tension builds in all the right places and it ducks and dives like the rollercoaster we’ve come to expect from Tarantino.
Overall an 8/10.
I'm a movie nut from way back with my first ever being The Hallelujah Trail from 1964. Ever since, I've been mesmerized by the giant screen, and the darkness that went on forever. Despite the infernally uncomfortable seats, (plus having to stand for God Save the Queen), I've been enticed ever since to duck into a theatre whenever I can for a few hours of escapism.