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  • Brad PittLeonardo DiCaprio...
  • ComedyDrama
  • Quentin Tarantino
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Yasmeen Mamdouh
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Once Upon a Time in Hollywood: Won’t Appeal to the Masses, But…‎

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Creating a style that is so identifiably unique must be hard, especially if it doesn’t serve the masses’ expectations; Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is Quentin Tarantino’s ninth film, which, even more than the ones before, will not please everyone, and does not even try to.

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood follows actor with spiraling career, Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio), and his stuntman/driver/friend, Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt), as they attempt to navigate the scene of Hollywood in the changing times of the late 60s; a time many call the end of Hollywood’s golden era.

The movie begins more than six months before the infamous Charles Manson murders, following one of the victims, actress Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie), until the day of the killings where the film ends. The main focus is not really on Tate’s character but rather on Dalton’s attempts to salvage his career, Booth’s eerie, violent nature, and the pair’s bromance.

Like any Quentin Tarantino movie, the plot is definitely not a simple straight line; there are countless scenes that seem to have come out of nowhere, yet they somehow magically fit. From a fistfight with Bruce Lee, and breaking into the heart of the Charles Manson cult, to botching a role at what is arguably one of the worst westerns ever, Tarantino digresses, but also manages to end with a comprehensive collage.

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Once Upon a Time in Hollywood has the time to fit all that in and more, as it’s a whopping 161-minute- long feature; while the time allows numerous interesting digressions, it also leads the audience to get bored on multiple occasions, especially if they are not really connecting with the film’s references and context.

This presents a challenge for Egyptian audiences as they might know little about what was happening in Hollywood in the late 60s, the Manson murders, and what they represented. The feature is instilled with comedy, which is usually awkward, dark, or both, but is also subtle enough to lighten up the overall mood of the film.

The camera work in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is outstanding, using camera movements that require elaborate techniques, shots are as perfect as paintings, and the colourful compositions reflect the era and its style.

For the acting, Leonardo DiCaprio’s performance was brilliant, spectacularly balancing between the character’s vulnerability and compelling bouts of anger. He was able to incorporate little details that brought his character to life, like a slight stutter, and bursts of self-pity. Brad Pitt hit the right spot with his charismatic performance as the mysterious Cliff Booth, even if that meant just having one facial expression.

Margot Robbie’s role was quite small and didn’t have her showing her full capabilities as an actress. Playing a child actor in the late 60s, Julia Butters stood out with a strong performance that made her character one of the most memorable among a star-studded cast.

Who wouldn’t want to see this brilliant performance by Leonardo DiCaprio? Well maybe someone who isn’t a Quentin Tarantino fan, or at least not a massive fan to watch an almost three-hour movie. If you do watch this, be patient, enjoy DiCaprio, and don’t expect an ordinary film.

Like This? Try

Pulp Fiction (1994), Inglourious Basterds (2009), Reservoir Dogs (1992).

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Margot Robbie wears some of Sharon Tate's real jewelry. Sharon Tate's sister, Debra, gave Robbie the jewelry to wear.

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