Sean’s review published on Letterboxd:
"It's official old buddy. I'm a has-been."
It's been said that Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is basically Pulp Fiction in 1969 LA. And while it has all the flair of a hallmark Tarantino joint, I found the film to be antithetical to Pulp Fiction, particularly the ending. The veteran director is very much still on his game, recreating Golden Age Hollywood at its' close in a way unlike anyone else could. Everything from driving through Hollywood hills to grooving at a Playboy Mansion bash feels incredibly authentic, and I gotta say I love the grainy in-film productions. But as a writer, Tarantino seems uncharacteristically unfocused. The pacing felt very off, and I even checked out a bit in the middle.
The immensely talented ensemble cast are all remarkable, making it a shame that most of them are wasted here. The characters all appear very two-dimensional, and we only really get to know Rick Dalton and Cliff Booth. Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt both act their assess off, and I wish they had stronger material to work with. And as adeptly brilliant as Margot Robbie is at strolling down a sidewalk while wearing a wide grin, she has proven that she is more than capable and deserving of a more complex role. If that's all you need a character for, that's fine, just don't market it as a lead role.
If it sounds like I hated this film, I really didn't, with the exception of maybe the last twenty minutes. Without getting into spoilers, I was anticipating something big to happen for a majority of the film, and when it finally did it was just very off-putting to me. Pulpy violence has long been one of Tarantino's trademarks, but this film's violence against women especially is overly indulgent, and in the words of Jules Winfield, "some fucked-up repugnant shit."
As a side note: Tarantino must be trolling us about the foot thing at this point, right?
EDIT: Man that ending's been eating at me, I gotta bump this down a score.