Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood ★★★½

Damn Robin from Stranger Things made a really good life choice in this movie

Tonally alien from most of Tarantino's other works, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood plays out more like a loosely connected series of vignettes rather than a flowing narrative. Unfortunately, unlike something like Pulp Fiction, where every segment intersects in some way while the film remains entertaining throughout, this movie feels much less focused and has largely underdeveloped themes and character motivations.

Sharon Tate has nothing to do the entire movie, Cliff is difficult to sympathize with for a number of reasons, and Rick Dalton, despite having a compelling storyline, still feels largely unfocused on for a good chunk of the movie. I'd call this one of the best Leo performances, but one of the best Leo roles? Not so much, even though the pieces were there and Tarantino decided not to put them all together.

With that said, the movie is suspenseful, well acted, decently shot, and mostly entertaining throughout despite being way too long. I feel like the ending is a make-or-break aspect of the film for most people, and for me? It made it. Not only was my mouth gaping wide during THAT scene, but I think the resolution to Rick's storyline is a really clever commentary on how we perceive heroism and how much violent shit we excuse in media because we simply chalk it up to "heroism". It was a well set up conclusion on multiple levels.

Overall, a worthwhile film, even if it feels like Tarantino dropped the ball in various areas. It's no Pulp Fiction or Inglorious Bastards but I'd still recommend checking it out. Even if it is WAY too long.

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