Movie review: Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

15 Aug 2019 / 10:30 H.

IF I could sit through the bum-crippling three hour-long Avengers: Endgame, I knew that Once Upon A Time In Hollywood’s relatively short two hours and 40 minutes would be a breeze.

The story of fictional actor Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his stuntman-cum-best friend Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) is set against the backdrop of Hollywood’s waning golden years.

Tarantino makes sure there are no long draggy moments, and every scene will make you laugh, wonder what is going to happen next, or simply want to applaud.

Rick was the star of a TV western called Bounty before he basically gave it up to pursue a career as a movie star.

Though he had one big movie that looks very similar to Tarantino’s Inglorious Basterds, Dalton is now struggling with guest roles in TV series.

The only other option he has left is to take up an offer to do spaghetti westerns, a genre he deplores.

Cliff, on the other hand, is also struggling to land jobs because of rumours that he killed his wife, and the fact that he is not liked by certain stunt directors.

As Rick tries to rebuild his career (scenes on the set of the western TV show Lancer are pure gold), Cliff discovers something amiss about the hippies hanging around Los Angeles, after giving one of them a ride to a ranch where they used to shoot Bounty.

Intertwining with the story of Rick and Cliff is the story of Rick’s A-list neighbour Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie), who is married to one of Hollywood’s top directors Roman Polanski (Rafal Zawierucha).

Sharon’s story initially seems like an odd fit, but if you have read up on her and how she ultimately died at the hands of Charles Manson’s followers you will get some idea of how this story sort of plays into the whole narrative.

While Rick and Cliff are fictional, you had a whole host of actors playing real-life people who were active in films and television during that era.

Many actors who worked with Tarantino in the past are also cast in small roles.

While it is nice to see all these actors onscreen (including Luke Perry in his final role), star-gazing can also be distracting.

DiCaprio is simply brilliant in this film, and there is an end-credit scene you should wait for.

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