Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is not what one might expect. Director and writer Quentin Tarantino is best known for the energy and inspiration of dialogue in his movies. They can hold your interest throughout. With Once upon a Time, you may find yourself yawning at times.
The film enjoys long takes of characters riding automobiles. There is music playing in the background to highlight a setting of the Hippy 60’s. If one argues that the film is inspired, then it is obviously because the movie works like a dedication to a bygone era, which it recreates with much detail, realism, and knowledge about locations. The story concerns movie star Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his stuntman Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt). Rick’s career is no longer stable and therefore isn’t getting the same kind of casting offers. Instead he gets an opportunity to do Italian spaghetti westerns. He cries in what he perceives to be the decline of his career. Meanwhile amidst this emotional journey, his stuntman Cliff meets hippies who he begins to grows suspicious off. And there is ongoing attention to Margot Robbie as Sharon Tate, who spends most of the time with minimal dialogue and lots of close ups. Al Pacino is also there but not much is done with his character. It’s at about the 2 hour mark that the story begins to wrap itself up, with a voice narrating a timeline of events. The pacing picks up as if the movie realized that it must hurry up to get somewhere. It eventually does and concludes in typical Tarantino maniacal violence. The film is nice to look at from a distance but I never felt too engaged with the circumstances.