Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood shows an exciting subversion of Quentin Tarantino’s typical film-making style. Those familiar with Tarantino know the style of his movies is flashy, artistically done and rather violent, delving into crime with philosophical themes running throughout. This is best exemplified in selections of his work such as Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs.

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, however, marks a significant departure from the director’s iconic style, while still holding onto the defining traits of a good Tarantino film. As before, tasteful choices in color correction, costuming, and cinematography transport the audience to the sweltering world of Los Angeles in the 1960s.

Rather than flashily cutting between scenes of gratuitous violence and philosophical discussions, Once Upon a Time paces itself rather like a Western film of old, with the majority of the first act showing Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt roaming the desert of the fading Golden Age of Hollywood on a Cadillac horse. DiCaprio in particular shines as Rick Dalton, a former cowboy actor struggling to find work, with Pitt serving as his stunt double and often personal assistant. While their emotional struggles are quite compelling, it marks a departure from Tarantino’s typical style. In fact, none of the extreme violence that makes him so characteristic is seen until the final twenty minutes of the film.

Surprising to the movie watcher was the interlacing of the story with that of Sharon Tate, notorious for being a victim of the Manson family murders of 1969. Actress Margot Robbie does a lovely job of bringing this particular role to life, and the manner in which Tate’s story intersects with Dalton’s is truly spectacular to behold.

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