Once upon a time ... in Hollywood

Once upon a time ... in Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino, 2019)

Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt

A faded television actor and his stunt double strive to achieve fame and success in the film industry during the final years of Hollywood's Golden Age in 1969 Los Angeles.

This is entertaining. The real star of the show is Brandy, Brad Pitt's dog. Brad is the next best thing, with Leo coming an honourable third. Brad won Best Supporting at the Globes.

The bulk of Tarantino’s film is designed to be a dreamy snapshot of the movie business and life in Hollywood in the late ‘60s. We get dozens of shots of Cliff driving Rick around town, really just to show off the amazing production design, classic cars, and music choices on the radio. The approach by Tarantino and master cinematographer Robert Richardson is incredibly finely tuned, and yet the film never loses that dreamlike aesthetic for the sake of realism—we’re watching a movie not so much about an era but about the movies of that era. It’s a setting once-removed from reality, capturing a time through the way celebrity culture and movies defined it more than the historians. It’s a captivating movie just to live in ... Brian Tallerico, Roger Ebert.

In Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood, Tarantino re-creates the Hollywood of 50 years ago with a fantastically detailed and almost swoony time-machine precision, and it’s not just about the marquees and the billboards featuring end-of-the-studio-system-era corn... The movie captures how Hollywood, by 1969, was a head-spinningly layered place. Owen Glieberman, Variety.

Anonymous director and Academy voter, quoted by IndieWire: "Once upon a time in Hollywood is Tarantino’s deepest movie since Jackie Brown, and it’s an original screenplay too, unlike the former which was an adaptation. I saw it more than once. The ending surprised me and made me cry; it’s very profound and upsetting in a way I didn’t feel in his other movies. He achieved something beyond his usual tone. 'Oh, I’m seeing something that is a real masterpiece.' I suspect it could win on the night. ...
[re Best Actor] Leonardo DiCaprio. He is strangely underrated. He is extraordinary in that scene when he goes to pieces on that TV western. It’s one of the best pieces of acting I’ve ever seen. He stalls on his lines, he’s flailing, gets bigger. Brad Pitt has taken all the press, but DiCaprio is really good. ...
[re Best Supporting Actor] Brad Pitt. I along with every other voter will vote for Pitt, he’s extraordinary. It’s one of those rare star performances. He takes a dark, dubious character and makes him enormously likable. He has rough edges. It’s interesting, that somebody like that can be a dangerous man, and also incredibly virtuous at the same time. Tarantino’s films have won Oscars twice for Christoph Waltz. In Once Upon a Time in Hollywood Pitt is not very verbose, he’s one of Quentin’s more laid-back characters. He’s a commanding and beguiling actor playing off his persona and his age, in a way not many other stars like that could really pull off. Other people couldn’t make that part as engaging as it is."

Garry Gillard | New: 28 November, 2019 | Now: 31 January, 2020