Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is not like Tarantino’s other work. Nor is it like any other modern movie. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is a melancholic, slow-burning comedic love letter to an age of Hollywood not many people can relate to.
Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a faded action star struggling to hold into his career and fame. Each scene with Dalton was nothing short of entertaining, as he internally argues with himself to be better than he already is. Unable to find work other than a typecast villain, he chooses to go overseas instead.
Dalton is an alcoholic and deals with a lot of anger towards himself, and the lengthy scenes showing him act out his part as the villain in the Western are extremely entertaining as DiCaprio does a truly brilliant job portraying different roles within the same movie.
After returning from his journey overseas, he dons a new Italian wife and a whole new wardrobe straight from Europe. Dalton doesn’t do much towards the end, except burn a Manson follower alive in his pool – a routine Tuesday if you ask me.
Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) is Daltons stunt double and was probably the most Tarantino-esque character in the movie. He requires no historical context or empathy to understand. He’s a stunt double who lives much worse than his star, Dalton, and is a no nonsense badass with a muddled past. His scenes were incredibly fun, as Pitt brought a certain energy to each scene that glued you to the screen waiting for his next move.
With all of its references, obscure or in your face, there is a delicious amount of information to swallow. Tarantino has the viewer sit back, and imagine being right there with the characters in a wonderfully painted portrait of a Hollywood long gone. This is one of Tarantino’s better films and will stand the test of time for movie lovers everywhere. Truly a must watch.
Nikhil Polsani, 12 AICE