Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood ★★★★

Critics have been analyzing QT through his movies for nearly 30 years. Now, as new generations begin to look the other way, he finally feels the urge to look at himself. What does he find?

- Regret (Death lingers over this thing like fog)
- Disdain (It's no coincidence Manson's 'family' include the offspring of former QT collaborators like Uma Thurman and Bruce Willis. Damn kids!)
- Above all else, hope... (Ellipses always offer an alternative to the presumption, dont'cha think?)

OUATIH offers a reduced dose of the sarcasm that has defined Tarantino for the last decade, infused with a sense of romance and vulnerability that has scarcely been glimpsed in the writer/director's CV.

In looking at the legacy of Sharon Tate and her horrific death, QT brings the audience along by doing the one and only thing any of us can do to honour her: wish her death hadn't happened. A lament for both Hollywood past (Tate, Polanski's later career, '60s idealism) and present (Ingenues like Tate seem less likely now, especially post-Weinstein, who happened to be Tarantino's main backer since Pulp Fiction). Shocking depth of emotion here; this is QT's warmest and most accessible film since Jackie Brown.

It also helps that he honours Tate via a knockabout and frequently hilarious peek behind the curtain to uncover a nightmarish land of naivete, precocity and impending change. The new kids on the block (or Cielo Drive) are primed to make changes, but will QT let it happen? You may be surprised to find out.

Leo's excellent, Pitt is even better (and notably wrinklier), and Robbie is gorgeous in both countenance and spirit as Tate. And when was the last time we saw Al Pacino so relaxed in front of a camera?

Imperfect, sure, but far smarter and pointed than its runtime or its blend of genres suggest (Give QT an out-and-out horror to make, stat!). Repeat viewings ago-go.

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