Review: ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’ – Tarantino at his best

Chennai: Quentin Tarantino’s ninth film Once Upon a Time in Hollywood stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt and Margot Robbie in lead roles.

It is about Hollywood’s golden age set in 1969 in Los Angeles where Rick Dalton (DiCaprio) grieving over his fading career with his friend and stunt double Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt). The movie is produced by Heyday Films and distributed by Sony Pictures in India.

Though the movie was expected to be about infamous ‘Manson Family’ murders where actor Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie) was killed along with few others, the director kept away from those horrible incidents and end up building the characters next to her house. Margot Robbie appears periodically in the movie who is living with hotshot director Polanski next door to Dicaprio.

The film starts with Rick Dalton playing his character as bounty hunter in 1950s hit show Bounty Law, which once again takes us back to Tarantino’s Django Unchained. We can see the bromance (DiCaprio-Pitt) all over the movie and also DiCaprio often describes Brad Pitt as ‘more than a friend and less than a wife.’

The director who is known for his raw films which has violence with lot of blood, multiple story lines and neo-noir scenes has come out with a excellent screenplay. Though Al Pacino briefly appears in the movie where he recruits Dicaprio for Italian movies knowing his career is almost over in Hollywood, he done justice to his character.

Rick Dalton is now used to play as heavy (Antagonist) in pilot episodes in upcoming TV series in Hollywood where he was overpowered by amateur actors and new comers in the industry. He was angry and started getting high all the time after catching up with the reality that he has no more stellar career which he had once.

The most interesting scene and brilliant acting came from Dicaprio after he forgets his lines while shooting. He couldn’t bear that he forgot lines and started speaking to himself in the caravan and threatening himself to get his act together. When Dicaprio was waiting for his shoot, he gets a brief encounter with a child actor in the set. The duo get along in no time and when Dicaprio finishes his scene, the girl whispers in his ear that “this is the best acting I have ever seen in my entire life,” which is very true.

Bruce Lee scenes were very well executed with humour and also he was overpowered by Brad Pitt in a ‘friendly contest’ which Lee refuses to accept.

The film starts in slow pace with usual Tarantino wits and humour. The most surprising thing in first half of the movie as there is no violence or blood which is generally considered as Tarantino’s forte. But the director surprises everyone in the second half where there is some blood involving Brad Pitt and hippies and also his dog Brandy.

M Chitharth