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Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

In this newest Quentin Tarantino film Leonard DiCaprio place Rick Dalton, who we follow from the height of his career as an actor in action pictures to the status of a Hollywood “has been”. Brad Pitt is Cliff Booth, who is Rick’s long-time friend, stunt double, and who ensures that Rick gets to his rehearsals. The film is set in 1969, at the same time Charles Manson’s followers murdered Sharon Tate and her friends. Tarantino weaves Rick Dalton’s story into the story of Sharon Tate in a very interesting and entertaining blend of fact and fiction. Tarantino is an expert in capturing the mood of a time, and he does so remarkably well here. The costumes and sets are impeachable. I loved his choices of music, which those of us of a certain generation will connect with right away, and how he carefully matches his song choices with the particular setting and mood of the scene. There are some scenes that are quite beautifully filmed and capture, with no words, the freedom of the time. The way he weaves several stories humorously that characterized the best and worst of an era: the sense of freedom, a Hollywood that was changing from the big-studio ownership and control of actors; and the murders that shocked the country. DiCaprio is good in his role, but Pitt’s performance stands out. The film is in my opinion too long, but it is funny, engaging, and creative. The ending is one that surprised me in a good way but may not be appreciated by all. Thumbs up from me for yet another in a long list of solid Tarantino films. It is worth watching for many reasons but mostly for the way Tarantino captures exactly the feeling of an era. (2019; 4 Stars)

About Gary Burkholder

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