I am not the most educated or experienced when it comes to the work of Quentin Tarintino but boy howdy does the man love having women’s feet in the foreground of his shots.
To say that I knew little about Once Upon a Time in Hollywood before viewing would be an understatement. Straight up the only thing I knew going in was that the film was about the murder of Sharon Tate by the hands of the Manson family (An event that I admittedly don’t know too much about already outside of cursory knowledge) but what I wasn’t excepting was that the movie would be an almost 3 hour long character study on the main characters. Yes while the Manson’s are shown intermittently and Sharon Tate is prominently featured in the story the focus is primarily on insecure actor Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his stuntman/best friend/guy that throws Bruce Lee into a car Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt). Like the title suggests the film structures itself like a fairy tale and is more of a romanticized tribute to the late 1960s than anything else and this coupled with DiCaprio and Pitt are probably its strongest positives.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood has an unbelievable sense of style and even during its slowest moments, never fails to show off Tartintino’s skillful use cinematography. Every shot is absolutely stunning and brimming with detail. The atmosphere of the movie is also something to be admired because not only did Tarantino try his absolute damnedest to recreate the environment of late 60’s era Hollywood, he also got the filmmaking techniques down to a T. Again, I’m not super familiar with his work, but the attention to detail and accuracy that this man is able to accomplish is amazing to me and really wants me to watch more of his work. His casting choices as well are top-notch because every single actor in this movie knocks it out of the park, especially the leads. Guys…Leonardo DiCaprio is so fucking good in this movie. Rick Dalton as a character is extremely fun to watch because he’s essentially a broken mess of a man trying to recapture his success and his glory and DiCaprio brings so much to the role in terms of emotion and likability. Brad Pitts character was also pretty fun, playing a shady of hell cocky weirdo that prefers to live life at his own pace. Every moment he’s on-screen you just feel really..off about him, at least that’s what I got from him. Everything he says and does just seems really sketchy but intriguing and you never really know what his motivations really are outside of “Eh. I’ll just have fun”.
Speaking of the cast we can’t forget about Margot Robbie as the late Sharon Tate, who’s wonderful in the role….if a bit underused. She brings a lot of wonderful personality and lightheartedness to whatever scene she’s in but she’s barely given any time to shine or even speak. Really a lot of the women in this movie aren’t given that much screentime outside of a few jokes or Foot Showcases but they all still brought their A-game in terms of performance but, that’s still pretty lame considering the movie is almost 3 hours long and a lot of scenes that are dedicated to…nothing. And that brings me to my first criticism about Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. There are long stretches of the film that, while beautiful, take too long to cut or move on so we can get to the characters. While that’s okay for some and in all honesty the movie doesn’t feel its length, I still thought there were numerous spots of the movie where it meandered for far too long…though I guess in fairness that might be the point. The focus on the mundane and personal lives of the main characters do build them up quite a bit (Outside of Tate, of course) and it began to feel more like a character study on these people rather than a strict narrative.
Which is why the ending of the movie was so baffling to me.
We’re about to get into the REAL DEEP SHIT when it comes to spoilers so I’ll summarize my thoughts real quick. Once Upon a Time In Hollywood is a gorgeous love letter to 1960s popular culture that is filled with interesting characters, fantastic humor, phenomenal acting and, above all else, a demo reel of Tarintino’s shameless foot fetish. Sure it’s a bit long and can be a tad on the boring side, but if you have an interest or appreciation for this specific era of filmmaking and entertainment history, it’s an absolute joy to watch. Just be known….that ending is wild as hell.
Speaking of which.
ENDING SPOILERS FOR ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD.
So up until this point, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood has been a slow study on the lives of Rick, Cliff, and Sharon. During the last act of the movie, we get a truncated version of everyone’s future’s with a really lame narration segment that kind of sucks and wish wasn’t there, but it ends on the night of the infamous murder of the actress…except not how it’s supposed to go. Instead of visiting Tate, the Manson’s break into Dalton’s home to try and kill everyone inside and they just get their asses kicked. It comes entirely out of left field and odd since it felt like the entire movie was leading up to the unfortunate killings but instead Tarintino chose to give the story a happy ending with a bunch of unhappy actions. The Manson’s are beaten, bloodied, set on FIRE, and everything ends with Rick meeting up with Sharon and her friends and partying with them. I was absolutely floored and couldn’t believe what I was watching like it felt like it came out of a completely different movie. I can’t…really tell if this is tasteless or not either. Yeah, Sharon Tate got to survive but only because a couple of drunk idiots unknowingly saved her and..If I Were A Smarter Person I’d Give You An Answer About This. The ending is just weird, man and I wasn’t feeling it. It’s just too out of place for me.
But yeah, uh. The movie is pretty good. Let’s be real if you’re a Tarintino fan you’ve probably already seen it. Or if you’re a rabid foot fetishist.
Bro seriously barely any of the women in this movie wear shoes and they’re constantly in the foreground of shots. I was trying so hard to not burst out laughing in the movie theater.