Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

I see the discourse surrounding this film being mostly useless, with no particular engagement with its mundane structure and historical revisionism beyond superficial recognitions. As well, that mundane narrative "development" has been commonly cited as manifesting a hang-out vibe, which envelops the maundering sensibilities of this work's larger part. It enables the characters, those of whom are most certifiably undefined by Tarantino's signature high-concept flair, his interests instead appeasing the Jackie Brown fans, wherein the mode of momentum revolves around the battling interiority of characters.

I will note, however, I do not believe this film to operate along these determined structures. This is a hybrid work, within the context of Tarantino's filmography, it's high concept built into the existence and existential ennui of these characters. Our supposed empathic trajectory is laid claim by the angst ridden state of DiCaprio's leading man, but any sense of development never comes to fruition - the character catapulting into defeatist and self-satisfactory stasis, wherein the idealisms of the time and career find balance with the lies one must tell themselves to believe in their fulfilment. Pitt and Robbie, themselves, have little to no movement beyond their interactions with the milieu and their surrounding cohort, outscaled by what are the 60s in that titular colonizing machine. These characters don't matter within this work, and ultimately that's for the best.

The tragedy of Sharon Tate has outlived Tate as a person - the typical weight and veneer brought to you by history - which Tarantino thankfully undercuts in the rather candid moments of bubbling curiosity we are afforded with Robbie, who plays the role with enough ignorance and excitement, its as if she's holding a mirror right as us the entire time. The joy percolates through the work, constantly cascading the film in a lush exuberance, truly capturing the perspectives of the cast, glazed to the aesthetics that enshrine their era. Of course, that is until the final shot, where the lingering tranquility reexamines the world of inexplicable, stilted violence. Cars are parked outside the Polanski residence, lights are on, and the air is as casual as ever. The pathos that erupts, I would assume, requires knowledge of the true life events. For myself, this final crane tore at the satirized romanticism that emerged throughout the prior 2.5 hours - rendering the hysterics, the hyper-specificity, the indulgence, rotten with guilt and lamentation.

In IB, we gleaned our first tastes to his affinity towards revisionist histories, watching him luxuriate in a fantasy that touches less on people as much as icons. IB distinguishes itself through setting ablaze the narratives that have come to define generations in the West - I know as much for my heritage, I can attest to that. Here, this is something more intimately focused, embellishing in an attitude and image, attacking a past's injustices, concluding, invariably, the ending would be the same - an ode to the humanity behind a legacy of victimization, as well as a tale that writhes in the indifference of a system poised to distract the individual to its benefit. In many ways, this is the most mature and grief stricken romp that's ever been made. It is not a film of much consequence, although perhaps in such a commercially nostalgic time, this may very well become a film about that toxicity that festers when seeing through rose-tinted lenses. The very placement of the title does all of that for me.

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