Once Upon A Time In Hollywood - Something and nothing.
One does wonder whether Quentin Tarantino’s 9th instalment would have been as well received if Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt and Margot Robbie were replaced with actors who nobody knew.
You could argue that using famous actors is part of Quentin Tarantino’s recipe for success, as well as his directing and producing being extremely cinematic, sometimes unapologetically violent, yet unquestionably engaging. However, I find there’s always a caveat, and, unfortunately, in Once Upon A Time In Hollywood’s sake, it’s the plot.
The movie is based on a Hollywood star called Rick Dalton, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, who fears his stardom is going down the pan and due to his drinking problem, self doubt begins to ensue. Rick Dalton has a stunt double, Clint Booth, played by Brad Pitt, whose an ex-army veteran also serving as a close friend to Rick Dalton & Margot Robbie, who plays the girlfriend of Roman Polanski, Sharon Tate, serves as an extremely small, almost pointless side story to the main event.
If I were to read you out that plot, what would your thoughts be? Well, I walked out of the cinema feeling a little deprived and confused. Cinema prices aren’t what they used to be (like most other things, I suppose) and I like to save the experience, as well as my money, for movies that will deliver, and although Once Upon A Time Hollywood didn’t not deliver, I also didn’t walk out particularly happy and/or satisfied.
Once Upon A Time In Hollywood did have a handful of humourous moments from start to finish & there were also cameos from a whole host of big name stars, such as Al Pacino, Kurt Russell and Damian Lewis & there were also actors like Maya Hawke (Uma Therman’s daughter), Dakota Fanning and Timothy Olyphant all having their five minutes of fame, if you will. Of course, all of that made for great viewing, but it didn’t help with the overall story line.
The portrayal of 60’s Hollywood was, for the most part, a welcomed change and it was nicely constructed. I get the feeling Quentin Tarantino wanted to create a movie that wasn’t dubious, ridiculous or stupendously violent. He clearly wanted to tell a simple story, but in the best way he possibly could & I can honestly say he succeeded in that, yet, in terms of the story, there simply wasn’t enough to keep me at it’s beckoning. I actually glanced over to my friend at one point and asked him ‘‘where’s this going?’’. Perhaps this was a clear case of style over substance? Either way, you know it’s not a good sign when you’re wondering how much time has passed since you sat down.
Once Upon A Time In Hollywood was by no means a bad movie, but at the same time it’s not a ‘must see’. In my opinion, it sits in the middle of road, not knowing what it is. It was neither here or there. It’s a shame, because for all it’s hype and big name actors, I was expecting something bigger and better. If you’re a reader of this blog and you know what I like and/or enjoy, then you will know all too well that I’m a sucker for a solid story and will always give the time of day, or night, to those that offer this, no matter the genre.
To summarise, I like certain scenes and sections in Once Upon A Time In Hollywood & the array of actors turn the movie into something that it may not have been otherwise without them. As to be expected, Quentin Tarantino draws you in where, possibly, other directors could/may not have done & the little violence you do see is, well, violent and most certainly required. To a certain extent the story is relatively entertaining and the characters are endearing, but I can’t help feel there’s still an empty void lying wake, screaming out to be filled with something more substantial than what currently sits there, which, if you haven’t guessed already is not a lot.
I would genuinely love to know your thoughts on this movie!
Comment down below which movie I should watch next!?
Thank you for reading!