Quentin Tarantino transports us back to 1969 in his latest film “Once upon a time in Hollywood”, which delivers an entertaining multi dimensional story, while building a world that brings the audience into the lives of it’s terrific characters.
Leonardo DiCaprio plays Rick Dalton, a washed up action star, who’s trying to salvage his career while providing enough work for his personal assistant and stuntman Cliff Booth played by Brad Pitt. Margot Robbie also stars as actress Sharon Tate, who lives next to Dalton in the Hollywood Hills. We’ll follow all three characters as they navigate their ways through parties, studios, and even some cults as they try to find or keep their place in show business.
The stellar cast is all on top of their game. DiCaprio is both hilarious and sympathetic as the struggling Dalton, while Pitt is playing it cool again and looks perfectly in place whether he’s driving a classic car or peforming stunts against film legends. Robbie is the shining light of the movie with an innocent and likeable presence, that illustrates how much fun the movie star life is.
One of the most impressive feats is the world this story takes place in. The cars, the streets, the neon signs, the food, it’s all just set so well. You’ll experience all of this but you almost wish you could explore it further. And as for the story, there is some real suspense here and you know Tarantino is going to have his brand of graphic violence involved. Don’t let the brightness of the film fool you.
If you know Tarantino, you know he’s going to take his time telling a story and that the two hour and forty minute running time might not necessarily be a draw back. You’re hanging out with DiCaprio, Pitt and Robbie while they’re just doing stuff like watching TV, working on a film set, or just getting drunk. If you didn’t have the patience for this kind of Tarantino storytelling in the past, you might need some bathroom breaks for this one.
Where does this rank as far as Tarantino’s other films go? That’s a tough one. I will say it is one of his most enjoyable and lighter movies. You’ll laugh a little more here and you’ll get to really appreciate what a great looking film this is and it’s wonderful cast.
Running time: 2 hours and 40 minutes.