Once Upon A Time In Hollywood Movie Review 2019: Retro With An Interesting Twist

Once Upon A Time In Hollywood Movie Review 2019: Retro With An Interesting Twist

Movie Name
Once Upon A Time In Hollywood
Quentin Tarantino
Comedy, Drama
02 hours 41 minutes

Once Upon A Time In Hollywood Review

Surprisingly, Quentin Tarantino who began to spill blood by the gallon with Pulp Fiction 25 years ago, seems to developed a non-violent streak in his ninth film. By warming up the 60s with actor Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) the action star of Bounty Law, a black and white TV Western series, and his stunt double and closest buddy Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt), it's more about washed-up celebrities facing life than about counting a pile of bloody bodies.

It's 1969 and Hollywood has changed. Rick and Cliff barely recognise the Los Angeles where work is hard to come by for a pair of has-beens. With most productions having their own stuntmen, Rick can't get Cliff to play his double anymore.

But it's a charming twosome, practical and not really whining about their fate. "I'm your driver and gofer," as Cliff describes himself succinctly. And there's no cribbing when he goes home to his trailer where he lives with his small black and white television and dog Brandy.

What Rick did do very sensibly was to buy himself a lovely house with a swimming pool in LA at the height of his stardom. So even if he has empty pockets, there's a great home to live in.

The old order changeth. But Tarantino finds fun in it with a lovely scene between Rick the veteran memorising his lines and a perky eight-year-old co-star who's seriously professional. And the hippies have arrived in town with Cliff giving a lift to one and revisiting the ranch where he'd shot quite a few films in the dusky past.

After a few such turns, it makes good sense for Rick to climb down and accept spaghetti westerns in Italy, with Cliff in tow of course. He returns home to LA with a new wife on his arm and a few bucks in his pocket.

It's a lovely world that Tarantino steps into with his camera and his audience in tow as Sharon Tate walks into a theatre to watch her own movie, thrilled with her own lines and her own performance in The Wrecking Crew. Rick and Cliff also watch like fans when Roman Polanski, the wiz new director, zips by in his car.

And it's a delight that Polanski and Tate are Rick's next door neighbours.

Here's where the Tarantino who gave Hitler's death a new spin 10 years ago in Inglourious Bastards surfaces again. This time playing with the gruesome, real-life Sharon Tate murder that had rocked Hollywood in the 60s. See what Tarantino does with it by teasingly placing Rick's bungalow next to Polanski. And Rick is at home when the Charles Manson gang that murdered a pregnant Tate comes at night ready to kill.

Cliff Booth who's become more of the handyman who repairs Rick's TV antenna is unexpectedly placed in a situation where his skills as a stuntman come in handy.

It all comes together differently from how the Sharon Tate murder really unspooled. What I can say is that I never thought I'd ever call a Tarantino film great fun and not wrinkle my nose at the bloodshed.

Disclaimer: We are proud that LehrenTV reviewer Bharathi S Pradhan has been appointed an advisory member of the prestigious CBFC. However, her reviews reflect her personal appraisal of a film and do not in any way speak on behalf of the Censor Board.

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  • Dialogues
  • Story
  • Music
  • Screen Play

The Verdict

For a hark-back Tarantino film with superlative performances by two veterans, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood gets a worthy 4* rating.


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