Evan Lee Ambrose’s review published on Letterboxd:
Warning: This review will contain excessive amounts of the f-word in the spirit of Tarantino.
I remember seeing the second trailer for Tarantino’s ninth (but technically tenth) film way back in May of 2019 and thinking to myself “I have no clue what this movie is going to be about, but I’m cheer to see that the marketers have decided to not give anything away!” So, I just saw the full, two-hour-and-forty-five-minute-long movie…and I have to say…I still have no clue what it’s a-fucking-bout.
Once Upon a Time In Hollywood is going to subvert your gosh-darn, rootin’-tootin’, Buddy Holly, spick-and-span, rub-a-dub-dub expectations and throw them right out of the goddamn window! And it will do it pretty fucking well, might I add! Where most artists fail when it comes to these sorts of outlines, Tarantino recklessly avoids, carrying his schemes to the fullest and most cynical of volumes while leaving his audience in a conflicted dust of emotions by the conclusion of the picture.
This is without a shadow of a doubt Tarantino’s funniest chapter since Pulp Fiction. Except, this time around, he’s transferring his usual increments of dark humor to freshly ventured gains of absurdist comedy. It’s as if the Coen Brothers had conducted their own dry-sense-of-humor-based script and allowed Tarantino to viciously repaint it with éclats of obscurity and dementia. The dialogue isn’t capital within the realms of such paragons as Pulp Fiction or Inglorious Basterds, but it’s glittery enough to maintain audiences from ever feeling like Tarantino has demoted his customary knacks.
One asset that I’m positive folks will be panegyrizing about once this feature hits wide release are the riveting performances. Leonardo DiCaprio is bashing home runs in this like he was in Wolf of Wall Street, and not in something as infuriatingly deficient as Critters 3—thank you, thank you, thank you. There’s a lot of character quirks and imperfections that he glisters rigorously, and it makes his character—Rick Fucking Dalton—that much of an eye-catcher.
BUT BRAD PITT. BRAD MOTHER FUCKING PITT. MY MAN. MY FUCKING MAN. YOU FUCKED HARD IN THIS. I HAVE NEVER LAUGHED SO HARD AT A THIRD ACT COMEDIC PERFORMANCE BEFORE IN MY ENTIRE MOTHER FUCKING LIFE. ROCK ON!
About two hours into Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, I was seriously questioning what the purpose of this movie’s very existence even was and I truthfully didn’t know whether I was going to like it or not. But then, by the finale—which I unquestionably will deduce as Tarantino’s CRAZIEST finale of his entire career in a discern you will never see coming (like, never)—is balls to the walls the most oddly satisfying affair that this man has ever put on before in all of his extensively lived career.
If anything, for those who might not desiderate the delirious ending, this is, nonetheless, a boundlessly pleasurable flick for cinephiles, Hollywood enthusiasts, or common folk who just want to have a hardy time at the cinema. It may be his “slowest paced” film yet, but all the little scenes feel so fruitful and bodacious, so it is difficult to be disheartened when witnessing these erratic ticks that may not appear all too necessary.
Once Upon a Time In Hollywood has just the right amount of sagacity and shock-value as you would expect from a slam-dunk showstopper by film auteur Quentin Tarantino. Yet, it’s unlike—like I mean, unlike—anything he’s ever done before which is presumably either going to pester or enlighten its expectation-heavy followers. This golden-tagged, cinematic man is about to troll millions of fans and audiences across the globe and I can’t wait to see the reactions of every single one of them.
🏅 Verdict: B+
READ THE FULL REVIEW AT BURNING THE CELLULOID
This Movie is a Part of My List: Ranking Quentin Tarantino’s Films From Best to Worst