Quentin Tarantino’s impeccable period piece has a satisfying ending
Photo courtesy of AP Images. From left, actor Brad Pitt, director Quentin Tarantino, actress Margot Robbie and actor Leonardo DiCaprio pose for the media as they arrive for the Germany premiere of the movie ‘Once Upon A Time in Hollywood’ in Berlin, Germany, Aug. 1, 2019.
BY GAIL A. PISCHAK
Quentin Tarantino’s ninth film, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” does not disappoint. Hollywood legend’s, Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt, along with perennial favorite, Margo Robbie lead an all-star ensemble cast to tell both a realistic and an imaginative story of the changing face of Hollywood in 1969. This spectacularly detailed trip down memory lane, masterfully combines unparalleled film making, classic, QT quirky humor and a creative re-imagining of history to create a highly satisfying film.
Leonardo DiCaprio plays Ricky Dalton, an aging, fading, slightly alcoholic actor who realizes his time as an A-lister star is over. Helping him to keep his dignity and film career intact is his best friend, and sometimes stunt double, Cliff Booth played by a laid-back Brad Pitt. Together, they romp from one lousy situation to another until their lives finally intersect with that of their unfortunate next-door neighbor Sharen Tate, played by the fantastic Margo Robbie.
Audience anxiety begins building when the three of them meet since most of us know Sharon Tate’s tragic fate. Our anxiety is a reflection of our collective care and affection for the two male leads and our fear is about how their lives might be forever changed by their chance meeting with Sharon Tate. This sub-plot is full of surprises and dominates in the last quarter of the movie.
“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” is a very very good film and will do very well come Oscar season. Is this a QT masterpiece? Well yes and no. The acting is crazy excellent. There are also many moments of directorial genius and smart editing yet at 161 minutes the film dragged slightly, and the back half of the film was not as strong as the first half. It is worth seeing the film just for the recreation of life in the late 1960s.
The stories how they found the 1969 memorabilia for the movie could be a film all on its own. The last 20 minutes of the movie is the only violent, blood and carnage scene. It doesn’t feel as fierce as previous movies since, we the audience, are cheering the famous duo on to do in the “bad guys.”
In the end, I always ask myself did this film work? Heck Yes. And then some! I give “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” 3.5 film reels out of 5.
Cast: Margot Robbie, Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Dakota Fanning, Luke Perry, Al Pacino, Damian Lewis, Emile Hirsch, Kurt Russell, Timothy Olyphant, Mike Moh, Lena Dunham, Bruce Dern, Rumor Willis, Sam Wanamaker, James Remar, Mikey Madison, Brenda Vaccaro.
Producers: William Paul Clark, David Heyman, Georgia Kacandes, Shannon McIntosh, Daren Metropoulos, Quentin Tatantino
Gail Pischak is a second semester film student at COD and a wanna-be short documentary film maker. Her primary hobby is movies, movies and movies!