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Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Once Upon A Time...In Hollywood

Once Upon A Time...in Hollywood doesn't feel like a typical Tarantino movie for the simple fact that this movie has no real plot or story. Instead of following a plot, we are basically dropped into this immersive world and spend 3 days with these dynamic characters Tarantino has given us. At 160 minutes, it would seem like a lot to ask the audience to sit in a theatre and watch a film sort of meander around for the middle portion and I can see a lot of people hating this movie because of this, but I found myself immersed in this world, these characters and my expectations of what was going to happen went wild.

Rick Dalton is a washed up TV actor coming to terms with the fact that he's a
'has-been'. His best friend and stunt double, Cliff Booth can't find work due to a shady past and finds himself being Dalton's driver and pretty much does anything Dalton asks. It's Hollywood in the late 60's and the hippie movement is taking over and right next door to Dalton is Roman Polanski and his wife Sharon Tate.

The more I think about this movie after the fact, the more I like it. DiCaprio is absolutely stellar as Dalton. His insecurities, ego and alcoholism are all traits for a great performance and DiCaprio nails it. His chemistry with Pitt is spectacular, Pitt himself plays calm cool and collected so well. Is it the writing or the acting, that make people like a character like Cliff when in reality they should probably hate him? He has a backstory that seems completely out of place at first, but then a lot of the scenes in this film feel that way until they all come together in the end.

Then there is the case of Margot Robbie as Sharon Tate. Tarantino and Robbie humanize her here. She has forever been known as the famous murder victim of the Manson family, but now we have a look into the life of a young girl just enjoying life. There is a sequence when she is in a movie theatre watching one of her latest movies. She is taking in the pure enjoyment of the audience reacting positively to her scenes. It's a nice way to have the audience view this person in a different light, despite what we expect to happen to her by the film's end.

This wouldn't be a Tarantino movie without a killer soundtrack, which this film has, obscene violence, which this film ends with and an over infatuation with women's feet. In the same vein of Inglorious Basterds, Tarantino plays with history a bit and yet it works when it takes place in his universe. The climax is where the violence comes in, it's bloody and gruesome. It feels more over the top given the fact that there is virtually no violence in the entire film until that moment. We do get a tense sequence involving Pitt at the Spahn Movie Ranch and I was on the edge of my seat not knowing what to expect.

What a lot of films lack these days is surprise. With sequels, adaptations and reboots we get a sense of what the characters want and where the story will go. With Once Upon a Time, you get to enjoy the sheer unpredictability of it. I didn't know where Tarantino was going to take us and I was happy to go along for the ride. As the title suggest, this is a fairytale and I await my chance to re-enter this world.