Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood ★★★★

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

Some scattered thoughts:

- I wasn't fully on board until the ending. Up to that point, the movie had been an amusing, leisurely evocation of a past time and a place. Transporting, but hardly exhilarating. In terms of temperament, more akin to the rather quiet, character-oriented Jackie Brown than to the high-octane swagger of Django Unchained or Inglourious Basterds. "Nothing wrong with maturing that way as a filmmaker", I reminded myself, somewhat disappointed deep down. Then Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) begins to annihilate the Manson hippies - and something finally clicked. It became clear that the 1969 Manson bloodbath meant the abject violation of something that was personally precious to Tarantino, as if it marked the end of an era - which is represented here by the angelic Sharon Tate as played by Margot Robbie. By resorting to positive historical revisionism, much like in Basterds, Tarantino rights a wrong, finding a playful and outrageous way to achieve catharsis and imprint an ideal alternate reality in our collective minds that is wholly in line with his artistic identity;
- Could Tarantino's affection for westerns be more glaring? It's almost as if he decided to make DiCaprio's character an actor specialized in portraying gunmen just to indulge in the aesthetics of the genre as a director. The blocking in those fictitious black-and-white clips and in the protracted filming scenes at the saloon with Timothy Olyphant and Luke Perry (which also boasts stellar atmospheric lighting by Robert Richardson) prove that he could stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the western masters of old had he chosen to focus on that playing field throughout his career;
- Tarantino could make a mean suspense thriller if he put his mind to it. The moment when Booth brings the hippie to the ranch is so brimming with tension and dread that it made me white-knuckle-grip the arms of my chair;
- DiCaprio hasn't been this good at inhabiting a character and expressing a troubled inner emotional life since Revolutionary Road. Yes, I've seen The Revenant;
- Who the heck is that precocious little girl? A star is born!

Cremildo liked these reviews