In an attempt to be totally transparent and unbiased, I feel I must preface this review with an explanation of how truly excited I was to see this film. This movie, was my Game of Thrones finale, third Lord of the Rings, and Avengers Endgame all wrapped into one. Quentin Tarantino is one of my biggest inspirations and I have, at points in my life, had Leonardo DiCaprio’s face hanging on my wall.
However, this review will be kept short and sweet. Why? Because after watching it, I don’t believe this is the sort of film that is meant to be heavily critiqued.
That is to say, this film is FUN. I don’t think I’ve laughed, gasped, or grimaced that much in a long time. It had dancing, fight scenes, Brad Pitt smoking an acid dipped cigarette, and of course, Leonardo DiCaprio with a flame thrower.
If that photo right there isn’t enough to sell you, then we simply cannot be friends.
This 9th Tarantino picture was a love letter to the 60s, with larger than life characters in a larger than life industry. It also pays homage to his own work, including several references to past Tarantino films. Sure there were scenes that could be seen as too long or out of place, but they were entertaining as ever! And at the end of the day, isn’t that why we go to the movies in the first place?
The film has also been critiqued for its unkind portrayal of action star Bruce Lee, and its underuse of actress Margot Robbie. However, this again reads too much into what the film is. It’s a lighthearted, fun collaboration between some of Hollywood’s most talented. It’s a guaranteed great time (unless you don’t like violence, then you probably shouldn’t be seeing a Tarantino movie anyway).
The deeper themes, the fear of being forgotten in Hollywood for one, are also hard to ignore, making for a touching commentary on the industry as a whole. Tarantino expertly combines art and entertainment, returning us to what the movies were meant to be.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is in theaters everywhere, but I strongly recommend seeing it at the SIFF Uptown theater where it is being shown in 35mm film. You can buy tickets for it here.
Happy viewing! And as always, tune into CW11 anytime to watch more of your favorite shows.