Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood, written and directed by Quentin Tarantino
Eight out of 10
If we look at what the – major- critics say about this motion picture, we would conclude that it is monumental, perhaps perfect, given that The Guardian, The Telegraph, Time Out have rated this at 100 out of 100 and quite a few others have ebullient words for it – “DiCaprio and Pitt fill out their roles with such rawhide movie-star conviction that we’re happy to settle back and watch Tarantino unfurl this tale in any direction he wants.”- Variety.
Nevertheless, the undersigned was less than overwhelmed, the word is in fact disappointed by the very, perhaps too long movie that seems to confirm though that after the masterpieces of the early period, the gigantic, glorious Reservoir Dogs and quintessential Pulp Fiction, Tarantino has not come anywhere near the value of those fundamental features, although many, or most fans have been buoyant about Kill Bill one and two and some of the other productions, Inglorious Bastards and the rest.
Brad Pitt appears to deliver efficiently as Cliff Booth, but Leonardo DiCaprio does not seem quite spectacular in the role of troubled, very often gauche, tense, ludicrous and exaggerated Rick Dalton, although the most serious challenge is the lackluster script, which has many references to amusing, sometimes celebrated old films and as specialists have declared, there is enough in there to satisfy the cultivated, distinguished audiences, but this cinephile was not happy with it.
Many years ago, I have seen Stalker by the Russian genius Andrei Tarkovsky (I preferred his Andrei Rublev though) the ultimate philosophical, thought provoking motion picture, with a dark atmosphere prompting, maybe forcing the viewers to think, engage in profound meditation or/and deep thoughts, only Once Upon a Time does not have the same quality, it is therefore difficult to take in episodes like the long scene wherein Cliff is taken to this abandoned property by Pussycat aka the excellent Margaret Qualley, daughter of the miraculous Andie MacDowell and perhaps the inheritor of that immense talent.
The search for George aka Bruce Dern goes on and on, it looks like forever and it is also difficult to see much point in that vain search and what is there so fantastic as to give this movie a perfect review…it is a sordid, dilapidated property with many hippies living on it and it would have been enough to take the tour in less than one minute, instead of, I don’t know the quartet of an hour that it takes to find the old man and establish that he is fucking a young woman and there is nothing much to it.
On the other hand, this can be evidence of how flawed this note is, for the viewer had missed all the major points, the divine setting, the members of the community who were so relevant and representative for the period, quintessential holders of the ‘make love not war’ mantra, complex human beings that proselytized and preached peace and nonviolence, while at the same time offering a spectacular surprise when three of them show up at a house and maintain that they are there to ‘do the devil’s work’.
Surely, the undersigned is wrong in saying that this is not a rewarding motion picture, but that is just what it looked like from here.