Quentin Tarantino strikes again with ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’

'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood' is rated R, to see 'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood' you must be 17 years old or older to see without an adult.

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Quentin Tarantino strikes again with ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’

Jacob Rengstorf, Author

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When walking into a Quentin Tarantino film my expectations rise above most films, I’m glad to say my expectations were met. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood may not be Quentin Tarantino’s best work but it is still a great film. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood follows actor Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio), his stunt double Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt), actress Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie) and their lives in Hollywood 1969. 

The plot of the film is very basic but it works in this film. I like to call movies like this “hangout movies” where you basically hang out with the characters for 3 hours instead of following a strong plot. This format makes the film seem like it has no point at first glance but when I sat down to see the film I found myself having so much fun and heavily invested in the characters. The Characters in this film are very likable and fun to watch. This is both DiCaprio and Pitt’s best performances ever in my opinion. Their duo is so enjoyable to watch, their friendship feels very believable and you can’t help but feel for these two. This is definitely Brad Pitt’s movie however. He is the best character and is just so damn likable. However Margot Robbie’s Sharon Tate feels undeveloped and underutilized. Sharon Tate felt like she was an afterthought and it’s a shame because Margot Robbie is a fantastic actress and she’s proven she can act with DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street.                   

The best part of the film by far is the production design and the music. Not for a single second did it feel like I was watching a recreation of Hollywood 1969. When watching the film I thought that this was a movie shot during the actual late 60s. The shots of characters driving through streets with buildings, signs, and billboards made the world seem huge and made me feel like I was in Hollywood in the late 60s. The music of the film was fantastic. Every song felt like it added to the scene and just transports the audience into the movie. There was no score to the film however to the best of my knowledge. The cinematography of the film, while not being very noticeable was still good. The driving scenes had some amazing shots, especially when the camera is mounted on the back of the cars. However there is an overuse of dutch angles, I cannot stand dutch angles. I do not like taking the camera and tilting it, it feels very unsettling. This movie was also hilarious, I laughed out loud multiple times and just found myself smiling throughout the whole film. It was that enjoyable.

There are however a few cons to the film. There is a scene towards the middle of the film with Brad Pitt that is filled to the brim with tension that has no real payoff. There is also a problem I have with this film that I have with a lot of Tarantino films and that’s narration. The narration only shows up at the beginning and the end of the film. Any narration in the film is mostly just for exposition and feels like the movie couldn’t fit this information in the movie without making it 4 hours long. The ending is the only thing I can’t decide if I like or not. When the ending happened I enjoyed it so much but reflecting on it now the ending doesn’t really match the tone and pacing of the rest of the film. I really can’t decide if I like the ending or if I dislike it. The ending is still really fun and probably the hardest I laughed in a theater all year. 

Overall Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is one of the best films of the year so far. I found myself just smiling as the first scene played, this is such an enjoyable movie I found myself just so satisfied by the end. The dialogue and characters are just so enjoyable to watch. The production design and music makes the world feel so real. It does has it fair share of problems like the ending and Margot Robbie’s Sharon Tate feeling wasted. Quentin Tarantino has proven once again he is one of the most talented directors alive. I highly recommend this film to anyone who likes well written, character driven, and funny films. 

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