Ragnar’s review published on Letterboxd:
Grade: GREAT (4 out of 5)
Once upon a time...the end of the sixties came to a violent and disappointing end. A decade that held such promise was clipped with events like Dr. King’s assassination, Altamont Speedway Free Festival death, the Tate murders, and, not long after, Hendrix’s death.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood aims not only to show the grisly beauty of the time, but to right some of those wrongs. The movie is both a sprawling epic of Hollywood at a precipice and an intimate portrait of an actor searching for renewed importance.
The balance of epic and intimate is executed perfectly by Tarantino, a talent he has been sharpening since Pulp Fiction. Just like those other Tarantino films, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood meanders along interspersed with flashbacks and unrelated episodes that somehow satisfyingly add to the story. Yes, some parts might seem aimless, but they are damn fun to watch!
Although, when the credits rolled, I felt this movie lacked the purpose of his previous films. The movie was satisfying but somewhat pointless. The journey was exceptionally executed, from the leads (DiCaprio and Pitt are perfect together) and the side characters (Bruce Lee was a highlight) to the tense action scenes, it is clear Tarantino can still make a fantastic movie; however, this time around the destination felt empty, especially if the viewer does not know much about the Manson “family”.
Perhaps Tarantino sees himself in the movie, as the sun set on the 60s, so too it is setting (according to Tarantino himself) on his movie directing career. So why not have one last adventure in sun drentched Hollywood? But this time, with Neil Diamond blasting from speakers, the cards fall differently than they did back then. A day dream instead of reality, where the journey matters far more than the destination.
And I would happily watch any Tarantino day dream.