Once Upon a Time in Hollywood: Movie Review

With Quentin Tarantino's impressive portfolio, the pressure is on for "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" to be his next best film. What we get is definitely tarantinoesque and will make fans of his body of work leaving satisfied. Unfortunately, with a seemingly lackadaisical narrative, "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" is great but not up to the standards of Tarantino's greatest.

It's 1969 and TV star Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his longtime stunt double Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) are finding out that the Hollywood they once knew and dominated is changing very rapidly. Slowly but surely, Ricky has been struggling to transition to a more modern and hippie Hollywood finding that his time in the limelight might be coming to an end sooner than he expected while Cliff hasn't really done any stunt work for the longest time. 
"Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" heavily-focuses on bringing in as much 1960s Hollywood references that it forgot to provide a substantial plot. What we get is an impressive film with deep and involving characters floating around a scattershot narrative. Disappointingly, even with the film's almost three hour run time, some characters feel wasted especially Margot Robbie's Sharon Tate. Without spoiling anything, let's just say that even without the heavy focus on her character, the film could have easily been the same mostly. Quentin Tarantino wanted to make this an feel like its showing us a bygone era that we can never go back to and on that regard, the film was quite successful. The visuals provided a huge factor here as the film plays around with impressive era-specific recreations and outstanding camera work which made scenes feel up close and personal. We also loved how Tarantino was able to mix effortless different genres changing the film's vibe depending on the situation he wanted to convey. There's definitely some horror, comedy, over-the-top action to surprise audiences. But what made "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" a great experience more than anything else was the chemistry between Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt. Acting-wise, they were simply impressive. DiCaprio as an over-the-hill actor struggling to emotionally accept his fate while Pitt as a bad-ass, no-nonsense loyal friend and employee of the former.  Overall, "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" will be a film that will be talked about for weeks, months, and years to come. We left conflicted. It was both brilliant but at the same time lacking.
Rating: 4 reels

Why you should watch it:
- superb acting and chemistry from both leads
- sucks you in back into the 1960s  in such a deeply-involving manner

Why you shouldn't watch it:
- major characters feel wasted
- the pacing and narrative was off even for a Tarantino film

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