As the title of Quintin Tarantino’s ‘penultimate’ film suggests this is an endearing warped fairytale story of Tinseltown. Blending fact and fiction Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood is a loving homage to Los Angeles and the cinema/television industry of 1969, a period which quite obviously influenced Tarantino.
The film centres on actor Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) ad his long-time stand double, come best friend and assistant, Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt). The two men are continuing to get older and thus struggling to maintain their relevance in an industry which is quickly shifting its focus to new stars. One of these new stars just so happens to be Dalton’s neighbour, Sharron Tate (Margot Robbie). This, however, is as deep as the relationship between the two men and Tate will be until their fates ultimately entangle in the closing act of the film.
The three separate storylines of Dalton, Booth and Tate play out throughout the course of three days as they lead to the infamous Manson Family Murders. Along the way, there are some fantastic scenes with incredible performances by DiCaprio, Pitt, Robbie, and a cast of supporters. Unfortunately, though these all feel incredible disjointed and unlike Tarantino’s previous outings, such as Pulp Fiction, the storylines fail to come together as a singular cohesive piece fo art.
For lovers of Tarantino’s slow methodical approach to storytelling Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood will feel incredibly familiar as it edges towards a fiery burst of intensity to close out the film. For many though the ending may prove to be incredibly divisive, due to its jarring tonal shift.