Film Review: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
PUBLISHED: 12:09 21 August 2019 | UPDATED: 12:09 21 August 2019
Tarantino takes us on a rip roaring ride down swinging 60’s memory lane
Few directors have been quite as effusive about their passion for film as Quentin Tarantino so it is fitting that his ninth and, should his assertions be true, penultimate film is a sprawling, epic love letter to cinema.
Set in 1969 Los Angeles, the film follows television actor Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his stunt double Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) as they struggle to find work in a rapidly changing industry that is moving on without them.
All the while Rick's neighbour, Sharon Tate's (Margot Robbie) star is on the rise and she is destined to cross paths with the duo.
Arguably his most personal film to date, there is a real affection, restraint and contemplativeness in Tarantino's exploration of the stunningly recreated 1960s Hollywood that has more in common with the slow-burn, multi-strand narratives of Pulp Fiction and Jackie Brown than with his later, equally effective features.
The director's stylistic trademarks remain, with long, often darkly humorous exchanges, tense set-pieces and sudden, shocking bursts of violence punctuating the drama as Rick and Cliff cross paths with stars and deranged cultists alike.
DiCaprio and Pitt make for a fine central pairing, with both delivering layered, charismatic and hugely likeable turns and Robbie is a warm, engaging presence as Tate.
How Tarantino chooses to close his film shall not be spoilt, but suffice it to say that it is a suitably explosive finale that serves as a perfect end to this rich, colourful and loving paean to Hollywood.