Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood ★★★★½

“Give me evil sexy Hamlet!”

Feels a lot like a spiritual successor to Jackie Brown, one that makes use of the former’s sedate, elegiac approach to the point of openly revisiting (and, in one very specific case, revising) some of its most well-known images. This time around, Tarantino himself is the one reckoning with age and the pressures of expectations; after a certain point, his anxieties and obsessions start bleeding together, as an actor’s breakdown on a Western set turns into a Western showdown itself while an extended visit to a movie theater takes on an almost sacred quality. Probably flawed - numerous thinkpieces will be written on how this movie handles Tate and Polanski, and Christ knows I don’t want to even try and unpack that ending - but there’s a rapturous sort of feeling it gives me that I can’t quite shake. Bruce Lee deserved better, though.

(Extra shout-out to the staff at the Arclight Hollywood, who handled a sudden tear in their 70mm print like absolute champs and did their best to deal with a theater full of drunken assholes whinging at them. Hats off to a good show.)

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