A few hours ago I finally got to see Once Upon A Time In Hollywood. I’d been looking forward to Tarantino’s newest film for about a year now. But cautiously optimistic. Unlike his previous films, I had no idea what kind of movie this was going to be. And even if I had guessed, I would have been far from the mark.
The movie takes place in the final year of the 60’s and one of the major story arcs is the Manson killings of Sharon Tate and crew. When I heard he was going to do a movie about this I initially felt disgust. Would it be glorifying those deaths? That didn’t seem right to me and it seemed out of the norm for Tarantino. So I figured he probably had something else in mind, but what, I had no idea.
I purposely ignored all interviews and press prior to watching. And I’m glad I did as I kept waiting for the movie to turn dark at any moment and it never did. The ending itself was one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen, let alone in a Tarantino movie. The build up to it was fantastic. And the editing throughout the film had an eerily psychedelic quality. The narrative followed a weird structure of real time, to flashback, to fake movie, to all things in between. I haven’t used psychedelics in well over a year and I felt like I was on something when I left the theater.
I was expecting Brad Pitt to be a side character in this film, but it turns out that he’s practically the protagonist. His character is one of the best I’ve seen from him. The only other role that comes to mind is his portrayal of the fitness dork from Burn After Reading. I can’t wait to see this one again just to bask in the performance.
At first glance the movie seems boring, like nothing ever happens. It reminds me of Dazed and Confused in that fashion. But the more I ponder on it, the more I see how cleverly he has organized this movie. There are tons of homages and foreshadowing in this movie. More so than your typical Tarantino film. I feel like this movie may initially seem lackluster to many only to be looked upon fondly with nostalgia. Even though he has claimed he will do ten movies and then stop, this could easily have been his last hurrah.