A lot of hype revolved around Quentin Tarantino’s 9th film during production and now that I have been able to watch a prescreening I can firmly say that the hype is well deserved.
(Review contains VERY MILD Spoilers, depending on how sensitive you are to that kind of thing.)
OUATIH sees Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt reunite with Tarantino in an alternate history of the infamous Sharon Tate murders by a group of Charlie Manson’s followers. Charlie Manson is widely known as one of the evilest beings to ever walk this earth and his charismatic persona was able to convince droves of young women that he was doing a celestial work.
Tarantino tackles this storyline by introducing Rick Dalton, played by DiCaprio, as a western television actor nearing the end of his career and struggling to make sense of it. Cliff Booth, played by Pitt, is his stunt double/gopher/best friend who is left with the impossible task of reeling in his famous friend who spends his nights drunk and practicing lines for what is supposed to be his “comeback”. Margot Robbie stars as Sharon Tate, who, judging by promotional materials, is made to be a larger part of this story but she really isn’t. However, her scenes offer the purest look into what we all know as the last days of Sharon’s life. There is a particular scene in the movie that Sharon Tate watches her movie, The Wrecking Crew, inside a nearly packed theater with glee and pride in her performance. The scene holds a special significance to audience members if they are familiar with Tate’s short life as you come to the realization that she was on top of the world at the time of her death. Margot Robbie shines a light on a talented actress who was stolen from this world too soon.
Dicaprio and Pitt, delivering their best performances since The Revenant and Fury (you thought I was going to say Deadpool 2, didn’t you?) have some of the best chemistry I have ever seen on film. Their performance may outshine the film itself, between the brotherly love, fake accents, and an emotional exchange in Dalton’s Cadilac where Booth is trying to console his friend after a rather stressful meeting with Al Pacino, an Italian “Spaghetti Western” producer, their relationship is so captivating, that you forget this movie is nearly 3 hours long.
There are a few stand out performances, most of which are short “blink and you’ll miss it” cameos. The first of which is from young, up and coming, actress, Julia Butters (ABC’s American Housewife) who plays just that, a young, up, and coming actress. In her noteworthy scene, while reading a biography about Walt Disney, Butters acts as a springboard for an emotional scene where Dalton believes that he’s reached the end of his career and the young future star is at the beginning of hers.
Margaret Qualley plays Pussycat, one of Charlie’s “Manson Girls” and has a few memorable scenes with Pitt in a “will they or won’t they” scenario.
Finally, in his final film before his passing, Luke Perry, plays Wayne Maunder, an actor playing a role in Dalton’s “comeback” scene. Their exchange offers DiCaprio’s best scene of the movie and really brings you to the soul of his character.
Let’s be honest, you know what you’re getting with a Tarantino film. His specific brand of humor and brutality is all there but the movie is not devoid of twists and turns that leave you on the edge of your seat. Throughout the movie, you think you know how it all ends but Tarantino understands this and delivers something that is new and interesting and worthy of a second watch.
I give this movie a solid 4 out of couch cushions. In other words, I will gladly pay to see this movie again and will promote it heavily among my friends and family.
Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood visits 1969 Los Angeles, where everything is changing, as TV star Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his longtime stunt double Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) make their way around an industry they hardly recognize anymore. The ninth film from the writer-director features a large ensemble cast and multiple storylines in a tribute to the final moments of Hollywood’s golden age.
Directed and Written by:
Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood is in theaters everywhere July 26th.
Check out another video this Saturday on our YouTube channel as we discuss The Lion King and Stranger Things with our special guest Heath Mcrae!