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Review: Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood: Volume 2! – “Almost the exact same euphoric rush”

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Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

I was euphoric three weeks ago when I went to see Quentin Tarantino’s newest in Leicester Square.

They were setting up the Premiere for the night after, and I kept thinking: Holy shit. Will Brad Pitt be sat in this very chair tomorrow? Or better, Leonardo DiCaprio. Or better… Kurt Russell? Or Al Pacino? Or – Jesus – QT, himself? And the whole thing was a bit out of body, if I’m honest.

I’d coached two hours to get there. Listening to my QT Playlist on the way. And, as we Truscott’s do, I was eight hours early. So I took London under my wing, and walked The Earth like Caine, in Kung Fu.

All of this is important because I’m willing to admit – especially to Amanda, who wrote her own fantastic take, HERE, that my unconscious bias was strong. Very strong. And maybe, just maybe, I’d overdone it in my review. 5 stars? We don’t just dish them out here.

So I was always venturing again. On the day of release no less, with the old man – who’s still the biggest influence on my film-loving life. And, with three weeks apart, I could finally be as close to impartial as I was ever so going to be. And I could actually try to remember where that glorious soundtrack, that’s been on repeat and repeat and repeat, actually fitted into the film.

So how was Take 2?

Almost the exact same euphoric rush, if I’m honest. Far more subtle than a shot to the arm, or a thump-shot to the chest, too. The film just washes over me. Its confidence in its own ability is a sight to behold. And Tarantino’s reasons for making it just resonate with me. Throw in the fact that his own time is running out, and that he doesn’t want a film student, once he’s gone, to see a single film of his, and be disappointed. All of it should add expectations that can’t be met. Surely?

But it sees that challenge, and arrogantly brushes any fears aside. Not by seeking out crowd seeking moments. But by doing things it’s own way. Indulging in long takes. Long drives through the hills. Long talks with Al. Long chats with Bruce Dern. Long talks with long-haired hippy gimps.

It’s an emotional watch. And it feels like a film only Tarantino could make.

I think I know why. It’s a combination of a few things.

It’s almost certainly the recreation of an era that fascinates me – even if I’m young enough(GTFI!) to not know whether BOUNTY LAW was real or fake. I know that the western town behind Brad and Leo in the opening scene is straight from DJANGO UNCHAINED. And that’s alright by me.

I know my Charlie Manson, and a morbid curiosity has seen me read stuff on it, I really wish I hadn’t. The thought of us seeing the same Charlie Manson again in MINDHUNTER blows my mind if I’m honest. As much as I love the DCEU (yeah, that one), and the MCEU, that’s the kind of extended universe I want. Hell, throw Detective Mills in there, too. And clarify he actually *is* operating in Gotham, during SE7EN.

Just keep making movies that talk about movies, basically.

The heart I mention in my first review is the main factor, as to why this film resonates, though.

Pitt and Leo’s relationship. And The Stones telling us time is running out. This time, much like a recent watch of KILL BILL: VOL 2, got me teary. And, like that time, I wasn’t expecting it.

It’s my favourite Actor’s, with my favourite Director, (until THE IRISHMAN, calm down), sure. But it’s more than that. Decisions are made, and paths are crossed and diverted in ways that you just want to stand and applaud.

But most importantly, and – until the ludicrous hot takes on Bruce Lee – most discussed, Sharon Tate. Or lack of. Except there is no lack of. Let’s be clear about that. Her fingerprints are all over this film. She doesn’t need more lines for that.

I want to see the 4-hour cut as much as anyone, but I’m not sure more Tate will make it a better movie. Because that was never the point.

The point is, Tate represents an upward career arc, to Dalton’s downward turn. By having her walk the streets of Hollywood – and, even better – see her own film at the cinema, she’s alive again.

And surely, that’s enough?

I can’t wait to go again. Don’t worry – I won’t subject you to VOLUME 3/THE WHOLE BLOODY AFFAIR. But let us know what you think when you see it. Amanda (@filmvsbook) and I (@maverick99sback) Live For Film and are here to chat. Especially about Tarantino’s obsession with feet………

“FEET!”, The tenth film from Tarantino. Don’t act like you wouldn’t see it.

Now… how to tell Mrs T, all I’ve ever wanted is a flame thrower……….?

Five stars (again)

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One Comment

  1. I saw it on Wednesday night, with my father in law, a retired movie industry type who still has a keen interest in films.

    I think the ultimate achievement of this movie is critics are assuming it’s triumph of style over content is somehow a commentary about cinema and not in fact a film that simply is very stylish but has little or no substance.

    There are some lovely sections in the film that are very clever from a cinematography perspective – at one point the audience enter a Western pilot that Rik is shooting and it’s very immersive. Until Rik coughs and asks for his line; at that point the “magic” is broken and we’re back on set. Very post modern and self referential, as are the myriad references throughout to Tarrantino’s greater body of work, be it Westerns, films about killing Nazis or whatever but does this do enough to replace the lack of story? Not for me.

    I didn’t think it was terrible but did think it was too long at 160 minutes- it could have lost an hour without losing anything vital and perhaps that might have helped focus on a story that at times is in danger of being visible but never really relevant

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