I never thought the day where I would walk out of a Tarantino movie completely indifferent from what I had just seen. Tarantino isn’t one of my favourite filmmakers but I can see the genius behind his work, he was always one prone to violence but I could always see how much of a great filmmaker he was. So going into Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood, I was excited. The premise was interesting, the idea of a what-if was more than appealing and the cast was out of this world. Imagine my disappointment when I walked away more disappointed than satisfied.
Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood is interesting but most importantly, it’s a love letter to old Hollywood. The love that Tarantino has for the ’60s is felt through and through. From beginning to end, you can feel the love from it all. Even when the film seems to lose itself in its setting, you can feel the love from it all. Tarantino has always been good at this. Creating feelings, setting a tone and a universe. He excels at it and maybe that is why in more than one way this film works but at the same time this tactic fails him.
The thing about Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood is that it feels useless. I remember walking out of the film and not understanding why this film happened. It ends just has it begins. Just when things start to get interesting, the film closes with the idea that everything has now changed. But the thing is, I was more interested in what happened after. What happened to Hollywood now that everything changed? Did things change for the better or the worst? What happened to everything and everyone? But the film doesn’t give you that satisfaction.
The film focuses so much on the journey there that it just doesn’t seem to be worried once it gets there. It just stops straight in its tracks. It makes you feel or at least made me feel cheated out of an ending where maybe I would have walked away satisfied. There’s something weird about watching a movie and liking it until the very end. I didn’t hate the film, most part I was entertained but by the end, I just felt let down by its conclusion.
But beyond that, Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood is a work of art. The film transport you into the period, you feel like you are back in the Golden Age of Cinema. But the thing that sells this movie is the acting. We have three great actors as the leads, three actors with a great resume and have proven themselves over and over again. The chemistry between Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio is palpable and they make a great duo.
With the little that she has, Margot Robbie continues to prove how great of an actress she is. While Sharon Tate might be at the centre of the real conflict of the film, she never feels like more than an image, an idea of what she was. It’s not that I didn’t like her but maybe the mystic around her never truly worked for me because she never felt like she was fully realized. She never is at the centre of her story, she is defined by men and never takes control of her surroundings. I wish that she was given more of a role, more of a voice.
Tarantino has a style, a voice that we all recognized and that is never a bad thing, except maybe in this film. Because Tarantino uses some of his styles in the film but it isn’t until the third act that everything hits the fan, it feels out of place. Tarantino is known for his violence but before the third act, only one scene is really Tarantino bloody scene. So when the violence starts, it feels out of place. Feels like everything doesn’t bland together and while it is an enjoyable scene, it’s just too much.
Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood is a work of art and so it’s a shame that it never truly lands. The fact remains that this is a beautiful love letter but somehow it’s premise gets lost in the nostalgia of the ‘60s and it’s a damn shame. Had just one little sequence been added to the end to explain what happened, maybe it would have solved everything for me. But instead, I am left with desiring more and wondering what if.