The premiere of a new Quentin Tarantino film is always a cause for cinephile celebration, and a moment of debate, because this cursed child of Hollywood always gives a talk about his stories full of violence, verbiage dialogues, black humor, irony, non-linear narrative and multiple references to pop culture, among many things.
Interestingly, Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood skips several of these rules, although it does not cease to be a 100% Quentin product. But, in this case, the question is: who are you trying to satisfy with this ode about the interlocks of movie mecca? Your audience, or to your own ego?
We have inclined a little more for the second option since “the ninth Tarantino movie” celebrates most of its idols and several of its berries, but many times it is lost in its own narrative, lengthening moments that do not always find the best outcomes.
This first production away - for obvious reasons - from the protective wing of Harvey Weinstein and The Weinstein Company (producer and company closely linked to his career and success), takes us to the Hollywood of 1969, more precisely to the month of February, where the actor Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio), an old star of the television westerns of the fifties, tries to keep his career afloat by grabbing any character that comes his way, always dragging his action double (friend and confidant) Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt), a former war veteran with a dark past. Watch now the movie to see how it ends.
For Dalton, the glories are left behind and now his options are increasingly scarce. Believing that his image is being affected by a string of evil interpretations, producer Marvin Schwarz (Al Pacino) offers him a way out: travel to Europe and join the Spaghetti Westerns fever, an offer that Rick does not hesitate to refuse, ensuring that they are not up to it.
And yes, the ego plays a fundamental role in this story, although Dalton does not seem to notice. His life is still that of a star, surrounded by small luxuries, a mansion in Cielo Drive and Cliff as a buddy and fellow of glasses, who also acts as a driver and agent, whenever his friend (and employer) needs him.
Apart from his misadventures, Tarantino adds another component when actress Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie) and her husband Roman Polanski (Rafał Zawierucha) move to the next house, months before the followers of Charles Manson (Damon Herriman) change the course of its history. Rick's dream, no doubt, is to fraternize with his new neighbors and, hopefully, change his work status a little.
Despite what we might believe, these two stories take separate paths and that is where Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood suffered one of its many setbacks in the plot. The Tate/Robbie story is only an excuse for Taranta's narrative whims that, we know (and we are complicit in it), has its own fantasies and turns under its sleeve. We are not going to go into detail because we would be revealing fundamental moments of the film, but this time, his "vision of the facts" can divide the waters.
Once Upon a time ... in Hollywood has too many contemplative moments that affect the rhythm and the plot as a whole. Although DiCaprio gives us a new acting class and captivates us with his charm and pathos, it is Pitt's character who takes the laurels every time he appears on the screen.