Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood.


Director: Quentin Tarantino, Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, Emile Hirsch, Dakota Fanning, Al Pacino


Now, I’m aware I’m going to make myself some enemies here, but I’ve never really been a massive fan of Tarantino. I have tried and tried over the years. I recognise his skills at writing some of the dialogue (dialogue which HE seems to love more than anyone else), I can see the craft behind the camera. He’s definitely a man who knows what he’s doing and who knows the visual language of film-making, but I find him repetitive, a bit full of himself (well actually, both his films and him as a person), incredibly indulgent and actually a bit childish. I know, I know… not quite a popular view.
I came to this film with open arms, with all the will in the world, as a massive fan of Di Caprio e as somebody who really enjoys watching Brad Pitt in anything (yes, anything! Even “Meet Joe Black!”)… and unfortunately I was proved once again, that Quentin just does not do it for me…. In fact he kinda pisses me off a bit. 
The film is a love letter to the Hollywood which Tarantino seems to love so much and that’s been “quoted” throughout all his previous films. And that love clearly shows everywhere down to the attention to smallest detail, wherther it’s a poster in the background, or the name of a minor character which appears for just a few seconds.
He also loves the music from the time, so much so that the film seems to spend an awful lot of time just playing some of those tracks over (endless) shots of Brad driving his car. Whether that makes an entertaining watch is something which I would debate. But then again, I can see I’m clearly in the minority here because everybody else loves the mood that this film creates.
I just thought it was an incredibly episodic film which aside from recreating the Hollywood from the late 60s early 70s had nothing else to say.
Di Caprio does his best with his character, but even his great acting can’t hide the fact that’s it’s all a bit light. The scenes with the little girl/actress are probably some of the best in the film, but once again, they serve no purpose in the overall narrative. And then somewhere around “hour 2” of the endless running time, the film decides to take a turn and becomes a story about the “Manson killers”, which Tarantino, in his style, which by now is predictable as ever, decides to re-write just as it did for the Nazi and Hitler at the end of “Inglorious Bastards”.

Yes, yes, very funny. Mmm… really? Again? Apparently so.
Also, once again, we get the gratuitous ending with ultra-violence, which we’ve seen over and over. Whether this is bad taste, considering that a pregnant woman got slaughtered in real life, among the many other victims too and considering that the close families to all these people are still living with the consequences, I’ll leave it to you to decide.

Tarantino once again is unable to keep his films under 2 hours, because he’s so in love with his set-pieces, with his dialogue that he thinks he (and we) just can’t do without it.
And so he indulges himself with extraneous scenes (completely superfluous) with an idiotic Bruce Lee (No wonder the Chinese hated it), with the above mentioned endless car driving sequences and long preambles to even longer sequences, for which there’s actually very little in terms of payoff.
So what could have been a beautiful old fashioned film about the “magic of movies” mixed up with a lovely bromance ends up being meandering, very self-indulgent and a very diluted mish-mash of everything, which actually amounts to pretty much nothing.
It may look and sound cool but behind the neon signs, hippie girls, the funky music, the shirtless Brad, it’s just a series of period clichés with nothing to tell… for three hours!

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