Half Sweet, Half Salty -
Movie Reviews for Movie Lovers
Tuesday, August 27, 2019
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.....
If ever there were a movie to get me out of my retirement, due to work commitments, not my absolute love of movies..it is this one..well actually it could have been a few others as well, but let's stick with this one for now..
After much hype, Quentin Tarantino's 9th and dear god I hope not penultimate movie has arrived...and what a move it is. Set in the late 1960's in Hollywood (where else) this is the story of many people, but mainly fictional TV Cowboy actor Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his best friend and stunt man, Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt), and if those two aren't enough to get bums on seats throw in the divine Margot Robbie as the late actor Sharon Tate just for good measure.
This is a meandering tale, much more gentle in many ways than other Tarantino movies. I went back a second time to see it because I knew I had just missed too much the first time, mainly due to anticipation of the plot. Rick lives next door to Sharon and her director husband Roman Polanski, who is the latest hot director after Rosemary's Baby. Rick is beginning to feel like a 'has been', he lost his TV show 'Bounty Hunter' because he wanted to pursue a movie career that didn't take off, and Cliff, well Cliff is just happy to drive Rick around since he lost his license, do odd jobs and hang out with his buddy. It is set specifically in 1969, a year notorious in Hollywood for the horrific crime of the murder of an 8 month's pregnant Sharon Tate and three of her friends by the so-called Manson Family, engineered by Charles Manson.
To say too much would be taking away so much of the joy of this film.
It is much less violent than other Tarantino films, though don't worry fans when it comes it's as bloody as anything that has come before..and less verbose to some extent. Other critics have called it a love letter and that seems an appropriate title. It's still incredibly funny as you would expect.
Leo is, as always flawless in his role of the narcissistic, fragile, egotistical and vulnerable Rick, his piercing blue eyes welling up regularly when considering his career and needing constant boosting from his best friend Cliff. It's also wonderful to see him exercising his considerable comedy chops, he is truly hilarious in some scenes and his advertisement in the credits of a long running Tarantino brand is a hoot. Brad Pitt as the laconic, cool and capable Cliff is a revelation.. lurking beneath his gentle and very sweet-natured exterior is a solid steel foundation..I loved that he declined the understandable offers of carnal knowledge from a very beautiful, very underage young girl..I don't care if it was because he didn't want to go to prison, he still said no! There are some incredible scenes, his encounter with Bruce Lee one of many standout moments, as is his ability to not only pull of double denim in the first scene, but double WHITE denim in the final one..legend of the thrall indeed...
Margot Robbie had a very hard role, playing an extremely tragic character could have gone either way, but she pulls it off with absolute aplomb and nails the optimism of a woman who's career is rising with the uncertainty of new motherhood beautifully.
The relationship between Rick and Cliff is central and crucial and seeing these two together really begs the question, why on earth haven't they worked together before? Their chemistry is nothing short of magical and I would have loved to have seen more of them together, hanging out watching Rick's latest guest starring roles..
The whole films weaves in and out of these people's lives, adding new characters and old favourites, some for only a scene..Al Pacino's understated turn as Rick's agent reminds us of how superb he can be when he's not being shouty..my tip is Brandy for best supporting actor in a female role..
I have always thought of Quentin Tarantino as a real romantic and this movie does nothing to sway me from this view. His love of movies, TV, music, culture and Hollywood are very real in this film, but also his love of people and redemption as well..
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood..the ultimate fairy tale..10/10.