Once Upon a Time in Hollywood Review: A Bloody, Slice of Life, Love Letter.

5 stars
Coming into Quentin Tarintino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, I had no idea what the runtime was.
After watching the film, and enjoying it immeasurably, I checked my watch to see how much time had past and was shocked to see that Once Upon a Time in Hollywood had gone for two hours and forty minutes.
When you watch a long film but it feels like its over in minutes, that is when you know you have just seen a great movie.
It happened when I watched Avengers: Endgame earlier this year and it happened again with Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
The film stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt as struggling actor Rick Dalton and his stuntman Cliff Booth respectively, as Dalton dwells on his failing career in the 60s with Booth for support.

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The friendship of Dalton and Booth is natural and often hilarious, with DiCaprio and Pitt doing amazing jobs.

Parallel to their story, we get Sharon Tate’s (Margot Robbie) as well in the build up to the infamous murders committed by the followers of Charles Manson (Damon Herriman).
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood has been described as a “love letter to ’60’s L.A” by the Hollywood Reporter, and this is certainly the case.
You can tell just from watching the film that Tarintino is someone who loves movies.
My favourite scenes of the film are the ones where aspects of cinema come into play.
The scenes where we are presented with Dalton acting as a villain on a show with a young costar Trudi (Julia Butters), and one where Tate goes to watch one of her own movies, The Wrecking Crew, are particular highlights.

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The interactions between Dalton and Trudi are probably my favourite part of the film with the TV show homages and insights into Dalton’s character. 

The film also has a lot of tension as well, due to the creepy nature of the Manson family, resulting in an almost nail biting scene about half way through.
It is the friendship between Dalton and Booth that is the true heart of the film, though.
Both DiCaprio and Pitt give incredible performances as these characters, allowing us to relate to them despite their less than admirable qualities.
And they are a part of a very large ensemble cast that includes Kurt Russel, Dakota Fanning, Bruce Dern, and Al Pacino.
With such a large cast and runtime it will make some wonder where the film is going… until the ending.
Honestly, I did not expect this kind of ending but, given that this is Tarintino we are talking about, I definitely should have.
All I can say about it is that it was a blast to watch.
I was laughing so hard at what was happening and, after a few minutes, I really began to question my mental state in doing so.
One thing I especially loved about the ending is its final seconds.
The final moments of the film really highlight the message that Tarantino is trying to sell, not just about Hollywood and the fate of Dalton and Booth but also the, sadly, very real life Tate murders as well.
It feels like a reflective ending that made me feel incredibly sad.
Overall, I absolutely loved Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
It has fantastic acting and amazing direction with all its movie homages, and a story that builds towards a darkly humorous, yet reflective, ending.
If you love movies then you should definitely see this in theaters.

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