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Review: Once Upon A Time In Hollywood – “A love letter to Hollywood… to film making… and to film lovers”

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For a different take check out Amanda’s review.

Time is running out. For you, me – and through a self-imposed deadline, Quentin Tarantino. For Hollywood, maybe it ran out a long time ago. And for nigh on three hours, Tarantino explores how, and why.

I came to the screening tonight with a serious case of unconscious bias. Unashamedly so. Instead of a weekend doing “normal” things for a 38-year-old – I gave mine up to watch Tarantino 1 – 8 (9?)

From the opening scene of RESERVOIR DOGS, it was like being back amongst old friends. Spotting all the clues leading up to the big reveal (look at the jars!), all the way through realizing Harvey Keitel’s finest role rarely gets talked out. By the end, my mind drifted. When we get the 10th film by Tarantino, will we get a series showing us the heist? Or maybe a buddy show with the Vega brothers, in an alternate reality?

Tarantino inspires these thoughts. Based on the fact he’s torn up the rule book on what to expect. It meant that, although I’d tried damn hard to avoid spoilers, …HOLLYWOOD never plays out the way I expected. And that’s alright with me.

Instead, we get a languid pace on a par with JACKIE BROWN. Except this time, Tarantino gets to revel in his own dialogue, so he lets it breathe even more.

Dialogue is front and center again, here. And it’s a joy to behold. The kind that will still raise a smile in 27 years, when I sit down to do 1 – ? in 44K or whatever version it is.

Having Brad Pitt (who delivered his dialogue so memorably in INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS), paired with Leonardo DiCaprio (who delivered his dialogue so memorably in DJANGO UNCHAINED) was a masterstroke.

Less quotable, maybe. But much like JACKIE BROWN, ONCE UPON A TIME …IN HOLLYWOOD is going to age fantastically.

Hell, even DEATH PROOF has. So why wouldn’t it?

There’s heart, here. And in many ways, there always has been. Re-watching PULP FICTION again, I got a real sense of pathos as Mia and Vincent said goodbye. Even though I knew they’d re-met post-boxing.

In KILL BILL VOL 2 (and the only good thing about Tarantino hanging up his gloves by the way, will be him finally releasing THE WHOLE BLOODY AFFAIR), I actually cried at the end. Twice. And I don’t think I ever have. Maybe it’s now being a Dad. Maybe it’s because it’s been too long since I last watched it. Seriously great work from Carradine – but especially Uma. And, despite the horror of the recent announcements, it’s good to hear Q & U have been talking about KILL BILL VOL 3.

Because, again, time is running out.

DiCaprio (who’s becoming the Messi of Hollywood, in that no one else looks like they’re playing the same sport), is delicious. The tears are never far from the eyes, as Rick Fucking Dalton realizes his time is almost up.

Pitt – who, by proxy of the number of his films that litter my All-Time Top 25, is fast becoming one of my go-to Actors. He’s the heartbeat of the film, here. The perfect mix of Robert Redford (cue nodding GIF), and Floyd. A lovable rogue, who you want to succeed. Even if it’s in rip off I-talian capers.

The soul? That’s Margot Robbie. And the reason he rejected your hypothesis is this was never about Tate being a lead character in this film. Never.

This is about a rising star, versus a star who’s had his day. And whether they’ll ever have their day again.

That’s a clincher. Depending on how much you get that principle – and the principle that this is Tarantino’s buddy film – will ultimately determine how much you get out of it.

A love letter to Hollywood… to film making… and to film lovers, themselves. He finally grew up.

Whether we get Star Trek (with cockney Tim Roth?)… or a horror (albeit he’d have to go some to top the Spahn Ranch scene), all eyes are on #10.

Maybe a HATEFUL EIGHT prequel – that calls even more on its heritage as the rightful sequel to John Carpenter’s THE THING.

DRAGGED ACROSS CONCRETE was my film of the year. It’s been nudged to second.

Your move, Marty.

For a different take check out Amanda’s review.

Once Upon A Time In Hollywood is out now in US cinemas and opens in the UK on 14th August 2019.

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