Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood ★★★

I intended to write a really spicy, glamorous hottake but it's been almost a month since I saw this film and that gusto has run dry.

My main point: this film reveals that violence is the number one currency in Hollywood films. Tarantino's has directly profited from this economy of bloodshed.

Despite the fact that Tarantino smartly works within film tradition, and makes films that are indeed worthwhile and masterful (if not also absolutely sexist), most cinephiles don't awe Tarantino's work for these reasons. Most film students refuse to see how black and white OLLLD french films elevated the medium for x y and z reason. They especially don't care how Tarantino works well within this history. They only care about how Tarantino works within the Hollywood history of violence and desecration.

If this is indeed Tarantino's swan song, then the film is then a lament that machismo violence trumps art.

The lament is further seen in how the film refuses to indulge the viewers in any truly gruesome violence until the end of the film. Some might say that this is a "Talking Tarantino Film" * akin to Jackie Brown, where the violence is sparse and instead, the focus is on characters and dialogue. When European films do this, cinephiles label them "boring and tedious." When Tarantino does it, it's exciting. Only because a cinephile knows that Tarantino will eventually deliver violence. Tarantino makes it worth the wait!!1!

Ultimate case in point: If Sharon Tate hadn't died the way that she did, would she be the icon that she is today? Would anyone bother re-watching The Wrecking Crew or Valley of the Dolls? Probably not. We can argue that Tate did have a star persona and je ne sais quoi, but would that have actually taken her far? We will never know.

When I think about how so often, audiences will use violence as the focalizer for a film's narrative as opposed to the humanity, it makes my stomach ill.

*I don't know/don't care how films officially categorize these films.

Erin liked this review