Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood ★★★★★

After "The Hateful Eight" which to me was incredible, but clearly not Tarantino at his best I wondered if he ever could reclaim that charm he had in his first three films (Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction and Jackie Brown). Don't get me wrong, his 2000's and 2010's work is brilliant too, but something about those 90's films that make you want to come back and for awhile I believed it had to do with Tarantino's loving portrayal of Hollywood. After seeing this film I now know for a fact that this is the case!

Here instead of capturing the charm of LA in the modern day (well 90's at the time) he completely sets us in a time machine back to the times of it in the 60's. It's a notable labor of love as not only are the costumes perfect, but the production design is so well-detailed that you swear he filmed this using a time machine! You feel like you're in those times and as a result, you fall in love with the past Tarantino idolizes to the point you want them to bring back those times!

Beyond the impressive aesthetics, however, is this story. Here, regardless of how well you know the Manson Family murders you'll enjoy it though you get a particular appreciation if you know the details ahead of time. Here, Tarantino builds up to the historical event that shaped Hollywood forever as you see figures both real and fake live their lives and building their careers. It notably doesn't feature Tarantino's trademark violence scene until the very end as you see events unfold upon this climax in ways you didn't expect. As a result when you finally get to your hardily laughing with a smile ear to ear as he just unleashes some brutality with a dash of overwhelming humor.

The above of course is not possible without this committed, star-studded cast. Leonardo Dicaprio and Brad Pitt are absolutely charming and captivating to a point that through a long run time. A run time that clocked at 2 hours and 40 minutes can be a chore, but they in accordance to Tarantino's brilliant screenplay and sleek craftsmanship behind the camera and in the editing room make pitch perfectly paced. In fact, it's so well-paced I never check my watch once and never had any thought beyond the story which in of itself is perfect Tarantino in delivering Hollywood escapism at its finest.

Before I get too long into a rant I'll just end it here and say Tarantino has in my book made his absolute best feature for this century! Is it any Pulp Fiction? No, but here he came extremely close which considering the perfection of it is a testament to his skill as Hollywood's absolute best working director with performers like Dicaprio and Pitt who are Hollywood's best working actors.

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