Set in the year of 1969 in Los Angeles, the world of TV and Cinema is beginning to change. Celebrity actor Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) starts to go through a personal crisis as he realises he is no longer the hottest actor in demand and finds himself acting in TV commercials or playing villain roles in Western films. By Rick’s side and supporting him along the way is the best friend and stunt-double Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt).
Once Upon A Time In Hollywood is a film that allows a cinema audience to sit on the sidelines and experience the cinema world of 1969. Along with the central bromance between Rick and Cliff, the film also gives us an insight to many other well-known actors. Some of these celebrities are also depicted during their highlights and challenges. The film also pays multiple tributes to classic films throughout the almost 3-hour duration, sometimes only a quick moment which can almost be missed. I was also happy to see director Quentin Tarantino bring back many familiar actors that we have seen in some of his previously directed films, including Kurt Russell, Zoe Bell, Michael Madson and many more.
As one would expect for a Quentin Tarantino flick, this film is very dialogue-heavy. It is undeniable while watching the movie that the director is passionate about film and cinema. Anyone who would call themselves a movie buff or cinephile will find lots to enjoy here with the many film reference and surprising tributes that are made, in particular to the actress Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie).
As for negatives, there are a couple of minor issues I had. Without giving away key spoilers, I can mention that the film did have one particular scene around the second act, which did, unfortunately, drag on and didn’t feel rewarding. The film’s soundtrack is also a little dull here compared to previous Quentin Tarantino films. Naturally, the film’s biggest and best highlight is the relationship and humorous chemistry between actors Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt. I would love to see these two work together again in due time.
Overall, Director Quentin Tarantino delivers another outstanding film which is full of surprises and tense moments. Movie lovers will find much enjoyment throughout the film and enjoy the multiple references to the history of cinema and famous actors. Solid performances and chemistry between actors Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt is easily the biggest highlight of the film. Is it QT’s best film? Well for me, sadly not, but there’s still plenty Quentin Tarantino goodness and praise to be found here.
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Review Written by Peter Walkden