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Once Upon a Time in Hollywood Review

July 26, 2019 at 1:46am
By Jason Stettner

There’s always something that’s just special about Quentin Tarantino films. In this one, you get something that feels slightly different from his past films while still being on brand. The story of this one largely follows a dimming star, Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his stunt double Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt). Both are set on their own path, while being together at certain crossroads.

Behind this all are the Manson murders, with that being a gripping part of the narrative. That aside, you might feel somewhat lost if you don’t have the context of those famous murders. To build on that further, a lot of the film meanders. It all works out for one excellent overall experience, at the same time I did find myself rather puzzled as to what the point of many elements of this story were. It went on, dragging at times.

I get what they were showcasing, but at the same time felt it was too indulging. While the filmed western scenes were simply stunning to take in, they didn’t serve much of a point and could have been shortened. This was still epic, but certainly a slower film from the director. It builds up, there are moments of tension and some of this presents pure beauty.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood Wallpaper leads
Something that really stood out in this film were the performances. You get some absolutely stellar showcases of acting. Brad Pitt was fantastic in this, Leonardo DiCaprio captured the failing star well and Julia Butters held her own against the latter. The cast really was excellent, another mention for how wonderful Margaret Qualley and Timothy Olyphant were despite their minimal appearances.

This was also a truly beautifully shot movie. It looked stunning at almost every moment, shining particularly during the western scenes. They truly captured the era, with this being a lovely time piece that also defies that very history. It was a sight to behold, and that worked well into the overall themes of this being a look at the stars of that. The falling old guard, the rising new group and how they got caught up in one strange situation.

The Conclusion

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is a stunning film, it delights and entertains while also dragging on a bit too much. It’s a shame quite honestly as if it would have been shorter this may have been perfect. It also relies on the audience to know of the events that take place, otherwise you may be lost at times. The first portion of this does take awhile to build-up, I was even wondering where it was headed. It did provide some fun surprises, and this was delivered through amazing performances.

There are so many high class actors here, and they’re all used perfectly. I thought the general narrative was creative, while at the same time not having an exact focus. That is, in feeling like it has a purpose while things are progressing. This was beautifully shot, some of the scenes are just magical in their majesty. I was really blown away by a number of them. It was generally a fun film to watch, to take in and just admire what was going on. Even some laughs are too bad, with really unique combative segments. It may not make the most sense to many, and that’s fine. It really felt like a regular part of history, a day in the life of this situation. It will certainly deflect expectations, that’s for sure.

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood Poster
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood Review at Theater with Standard Viewing

Rating Overall: 8.5

Gamerheadquarters Reviewer Jason Stettner