Fun characters you can relate to. Confidence. A touch of violence. All the traits of a Tarantino film. And Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is no different as the most anticipated film of the summer has finally hit cinemas across the country and has fans freely giving over their money to see what this director has for us this time. Set in Hollywood 1969 against the backdrop of the Manson murders, Once Upon a Time stars A-List actor Leonardo DiCaprio, a former star of a western TV series who has now reached his sell-by-date and Brad Pitt, his only friend and loyal stunt double. The 2-hour 45-minute film follows their characters in their simple day to day life.
And that’s how I would describe this film: simple. Primarily being dialogue driven, the plot isn’t hard to follow but it’s far from unpredictable. If anything, this is a film that is focused on the characters and they’re anything but dull. Entertaining you with pop culture references from films, radio and TV with Tarantino being as extra as to reference himself, this film is hilarious and borderline ridiculous from start to finish. I haven’t laughed as hard at a film as much as I did watching this.
What has always made me love Tarantino’s films is that you can see his love for art in every scene he produces and Once Upon a Time is no different. Even in the scenes in which Brad Pitt is driving down the road, windows rolled down, suggesting nothing but chill vibes, you can see the work Tarantino has put in and how deeply this film and these characters represent Tarantino’s current state as he produced this film. Every scene has a hidden meaning from life itself to method acting.
Standing out, by far though, has to be the excellent duo, Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio. As always, the men give their best performance to the point that you can’t take your eyes off them. They took their roles, gave their everything and it certainly pays off. And the irony of it all is that they’re playing men who are in a sense themselves as Pitt and DiCaprio, like their characters, are certainly getting on in their careers now.
Now, I won’t lie, there was a moment during the film where I thought: what is the point of this movie? Am I going to be disappointed and end up being that one person that doesn’t like the most anticipated movie of the summer? Will it be when I thought Hitchcock’s Vertigo was a load of crap but everyone else thought it was a masterpiece? But without spoilers… those 15 minutes when all hell breaks out and Tarantino hits us with the major plot twist of the century and everything turns upside down, I knew this was the movie I would praise for a long while. And I wasn’t wrong as it has been a smash hit at the box office earning the biggest opening of Tarantino’s career with $40.35 million.
Once Upon a Time is a film about people living their lives, it’s unconventional and I dare say, it’s probably up there as one of Tarantino’s best. He brings his classic tropes and mixes them with a bit of unexpected madness, and it works. I most definitely will be watching this film again as I loved every hilariously entertaining minute of it.