by Gabor L. Szilagyi
Some consider Quentin Tarantino to be one the last original directors in Hollywood, his newest movie however brought debate to the public.
This summer Once upon a time in Hollywood hit the theatres and people flooded the cinemas again with high hopes that they will witness another original tale of lust, love, and true Tarantino dialogues. However, when people left the cinema, a lot of them asked the question: “What was this?” In this article I shall try to explain why this sphere of confusion was created– without any spoilers.
So first of all, the setup: Hollywood in all of its glory and fame. The days of classic westerns are up on the chopping block, the Italians and their spaghetti westerns are gaining more and more ground every day. Our hero, Rick Dalton finds himself in this moment as he has to decide whether he will “lower” himself to the level of the Italians or he will be the last of his kind.
At the same time his partner and stuntman, Cliff Booth, a real cowboy, is living his life as a real outlander. He is part of the movie-making-crew and he is an elite member as well, however he is sort of an outcast since a rumor starts to spread about him.
Tarantino is being nice, even too nice at first. The story is an intellectual piece of art, since in order for the audience to understand this picture, they will need to have similar feelings, knowledge and passion for the period like Tarantino. It is absolutely crucial to enjoy the movie, because apart from the two main leads, all the other characters are based off of historical figures, who are only introduced by names and mentioned by nicknames.
Tarantino is quite purposeful and keeps you at hand by giving you a very precise line of intel about who are we following and what are they capable of. However, his creativeness is still reflected in both the film and the title itself, that is kind of setting the tone of the movie; it is kind of like a nice time-travel fiction where you can be a part of the heroic age of filmmaking.
Apart from Tarantino’s style, the actors are superb on screen. Both Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt are fantastic in their roles alone, but they also share an amazing chemistry– that is part of Pitt’s identity in buddy style movies. Just like he was a great supporting role for George Clooney in the Ocean’s movies as well as the imaginary friend in the Fight Club. DiCaprio is ruling the screen, with his truthful representation of a shooting star at the time, he captivates the audience and creates a vibe, that the other actors can latch on to, creating an amazing package of experience for the audience.
The soundtrack is handpicked for the scenes in order to compliment them, or to foreshadow something as it lurks into the plot. This is, without a doubt, a huge passion project for Tarantino and it shows: both audience members and critics were confused by the style and the tone of the movie, deeming it “weak” and “un-entertaining” in the eyes of many movie-goers. For me it was a blast and I can only recommend it to all, who are passionate about the 60’s and 70’s and for those who are willing to take a sightseeing tour of Tarantino’s Hollywood.