REVIEW: New Tarantino film a fantastical, breathtaking love letter to old Hollywood

It’s been 20 years since auteur Quentin Tarantino shocked the world with classic Pulp Fiction. A movie with unending wit, lovable anti-heroes and a sprawling plot, it is one of the single greatest achievements in filmmaking.

Now, with his ninth feature, Tarantino has made a film in Once Upon A Time … In Hollywood that is destined to reign as an enduring masterpiece for years to come.

Set in the 1960’s, on the peripheries of the events of the Charles Manson murders, the film follows a fading action star and his loyal stuntman as they traverse through Tinseltown on a journey for self-discovery and second chances.

It’s no wonder Tarantino is so great at writing about the renaissance handsome, booze-addled neurotic protagonist  Rick Dalton searches for. He’s been writing roles for those actors trapped on the outside of inner circles for years.

From resurrecting John Travolta’s career to creating new buzz for Bruce Dern, Uma Thurman, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Robert Forster, Tarantino is a master at getting the best performances from his actors.

Here, he has the best of the best to work with in Leonardo DiCaprio as Dalton and Brad Pitt as has laissez faire stuntman Cliff Booth. The intimacy with which we get to know these two characters is so intricate that we forget we’re watching two of the biggest stars in the world. They disappear into Tarantino’s universe, and he wanted it that way.

A beautiful landscape and stunt design to recreate Hollywood’s 1969 Golden Age make for a transformative experience, as does the pitch-perfect soundtrack for the film.

With a supporting cast that sports everyone from Margot Robbie as Sharon Tate, Emile Hirsch, Timothy Olyphant, an impressive performance from Carrie Diaries alum Austin Butler, the late Luke Perry, Bruce Dern, Dakota Fanning and the magnetic Al Pacino, this is a star-studded appear that somehow never feels cramped.

With a 180-minute run-time, the film is darkly funny, sends up some of the most iconic thespians from the time, and creates its own incredible universe you won’t soon forget.

Few directors are able to make a masterpiece film, and fewer still get to make two. This, in all seriousness, is Tarantino’s second full-on classic, and the ambitious, dazzling visit to old-school Tinseltown is simply spellbinding in every way. It is, for all intents and purposes, a perfect film.

5/5 Stars

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