The stars and the director
Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood
Directed by Quentin Tarantino. Script by Quentin Tarantino. Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, Dakota Fanning, Al Pacino. Length 161 minutes. Rotten Tomatoes 85%
Violence, music, Hollywood in-jokes – Quentin Tarantino is back in town. His style is a history lesson in contemporary cinema – and for that reason alone, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is a must-see. After all, Tarantino is Tarantino. You can’t miss it.
However, this is far from being one of Tarantino’s best films. The plot revolves around Tinsel Town at the end of the 60s and stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt. It’s a buddy movie featuring a washed-up star of TV Westerns and his stunt double and best friend.
It's more than two-and-a-half hours of a perfectly recreated era, an encyclopaedia of film history – the series, the shows, the actors, the singers, the theme songs, the consumer products and the Hollywood news which shook the world – the murder of Sharon Tate, the wife of Roman Polanski, by the members of the “Manson Family”.
The flood of references to the good old days in Hollywood will certainly please film buffs and viewers who were young in the 70s. But it probably won’t impress the general public. This would not have been a problem if Tarantino had a good script. But – and this is the main problem with the film – the narrative is surprisingly linear and pedestrian. There are almost no specially memorable moments. Tarantino’s fabled genius seems to have deserted him.
Carmen Azpurgua reviews films for Aceprensa, from which this review has been republished.