Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood ★★★★

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Whenever Tarantino drops a film, it's always met with a gravitas of critical expectation and anticipation. How does his ninth feature-length outing compare with his arsenal of previous hits? ...Pretty well actually, all things considered. 2019's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood showcases the fading splendor of a Hollywood about to enter the game-changing 1970's and a soon-to-be washed up actor coping in his changing professional landscape as a leading man, all the while being shrouded by the eerie presence of the Manson family and the soon-to-be infamous Tate murders.

A more character-driven picture than previous outings, Tarantino's love for classic cinema shines through in his direction and depiction of an era gone by. The attention to detail through references and homage are impeccable throughout. Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt eat the screen up with each second they are on it while also sharing excellent "bro" chemistry to boot (it's a shame that there aren't more moments throughout the film's runtime). The parallel symbolism between their characters is also fascinating when you catch it. Margot Robbie, though fabulous as ever here, doesn't seem to have much to do as actress Sharon Tate besides be a frequent reminder of the evil ahead directed at an embodiment of innocence.

The cons of this film could be chalked up to a fairly aimless second act that, if not for the dynamics characters, feels a bit sluggish and unfocused compared to its surrounding sections. Once the third act commences though, it hits dynamically hard (you'll know it when you see it, but Inglorious Basterds vibes all over). Cinematically overall, the movie is very engaging and definitely worth your time if you are any kind of film connoisseur or Hollywood history fan. Also, total mad props to not downplaying how much people chainsmoked back then. My gosh.

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