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The good, the bad and the ugly side of Once upon a time… In Hollywood!

Quentin Tarantino is back after four years and he isn’t coming slowly. All hell broke loose when the legendary writer and director chose the infamous Sharon Tate murder as the topic of his next film, but after watching Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood!,  one can easily say that the film does justice to the topic and the era it was portraying.

Of course, when it’s a Tarantino film, there are cameo appearances from the best in the business, weirdness all around and a soundtrack that only he can come up with. So let’s take a ride into the Good, the Bad and the Ugly world of Quentin Tarantino’s ninth flick and find out what it holds for the audience.

The good
Leonardo DiCaprio at his best, in another award-worthy performance
Leonardo DiCaprio knew that he would have to give his best if he wanted to make Quentin Tarantino happy, and I am sure that the director must be super happy the way Rick Dalton came out.

The Academy Award winner plays a ‘has been’ film actor who has been reduced to TV appearances until he decides to go to Rome for Spaghetti Westerns. Yes, the plot may seem inspired from the life and times of Clint Eastwood but it is a mixture of many film stars from the Golden Era of Hollywood.

No other actor would have been able to deliver the Vanity scene where Rick Dalton curses himself for missing lines on the sets and has a meltdown, only to return strongly. His chemistry with his best buddy Cliff Booth played by Brad Pitt is exemplary and the two look good together, even though he plays his stunt double.

Brad Pitt takes you back in time and makes you stay there!
Talking about stunt double takes you into the world of Brad Pitt’s Cliff Booth whose career is going nowhere because his friend’s career is going nowhere. He helps Rick Dalton around and it is during one such round that he finds a young hippie girl who changes the course of the story.

Brad Pitt looks every bit a stuntman who would do anything for his friend, be it fighting Bruce Lee on the sets or looking after his TV antenna, which was important to Dalton as he was working exclusively on TV since his exit from films. His role was based on Hal Needham who doubled regularly for Burt Reynolds during his career’s golden period.

Does he do justice to the portrayal or not, that’s for the audience to find out but one thing is certain, no one could have done it better than Brad Pitt. May be Robert Redford who was a star in the 1960s, but now that he is old, Brad Pitt seems the logical choice.

Margot Robbie reminds you of Sharon Tate and the sizzling sixties
And then there was Margot Robbie whose perfect looks and acting transport the audience into the days of Sharon Tate, who was an aspiring actress before her life was cut short by Charles Manson and his thugs.

Married to aspiring director Roman Polanski and pregnant at the time with the couple’s first child, she was stabbed to death while living next door to the fictional character of Rick Dalton. She may not have many dialogues in the film but she has the presence; be it the scenes where she dances at a friend’s party or goes to a cinema to watch a film she was in, Margot Robbie was perfect for the role.

The way she walks, the way she talks and the way she gives you attention, that’s what made Sharon Tate a rising star back in the day. Do go and watch the film to check out her performance as it was crucial to the film’s conclusion.

Excellent art direction, soundtrack overall
Every actor who plays another actor in the film, every place that is shown as a 60s place and every car that drives by during the film belongs to that era. When Damian Lewis acts as Steve McQueen, you don’t see Damian Lewis but Steve McQueen, Rick Dalton’s 1966 Cadillac de Ville is the same car driven by Mr Blonde in Reservoir Dogs and the same goes for the cinemas, the restaurants and places to give authenticity to the narrative.

Nothing looked out of the 1960s fashion and neither did the soundtrack that will compel you to watch the film again and again. There is also an array of film scenes that was shown during the movie, especially the one where DiCaprio’s character tells others that he nearly missed being cast in The Great Escape because McQueen agreed to do it instead!

The bad
George Spahn’s ranch is a waste of time!
The scene where Brad Pitt’s character enters the Sphan Ranch may be integral to the film’s conclusion but it is so painstakingly slow that you wish that it ends sooner than later.

Bruce Dern does make an appearance in the sequence but its way too late, even by Tarantino’s standard. It would have been better had he not wasted time in the sequence and inserted some other scene that would have shocked and surprised the audience in lesser time.

It’s a lengthy film by 2019 standards
The last time Quentin Tarantino directed a flick, Netflix was in its infancy and people used to go to the cinemas to watch films. Now the audience has less attention span, less patience and even though the film might be directed by a great director, they tend to lose interest after 120 minutes.

Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood! is over 160 minutes long which is too much to handle for some members of the audience. You don’t get sleepy or bored during the movie but the lengthier the film, the fewer the number of shows daily.

Let’s hope that Tarantino learns his lesson and makes a film that is shorter, crispier and has more shows in cinemas than his last few films.

The ugly
Bruce Lee wasn’t a street thug as shown
Nearly everyone who has been part of Bruce Lee’s life one time or another has criticized Quentin Tarantino’s portrayal of the legendary Martial artist. For an unknown reason, the writer chose to believe Bruce Lee’s widow who claimed that the conversation regarding Mohammad Ali once took place when she Bruce Lee was alive.

Others including Kareem Abdul – Jabbar termed it nonsense as Bruce Lee wasn’t a man who hated others. Even his daughter felt that Tarantino went overboard without consulting her in what can only be termed as ‘fictional’ than ‘reality’.

Too much violence is never good for health
To expect a film without violence from Quentin Tarantino would be like expecting a non-thriller from Steven Spielberg.

Yes, Spielberg has directed some serious stuff as well but his filmography has three times more films than Tarantino’s nine. The second half of the film is extremely violent and it is because of that the film has an adult certification. Yes, most of the audience laugh at the way injuries are inflicted on the bad guys but even then, until it doesn’t hurt the audience, it doesn’t hurt in Tarantino’s land.

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