If I turned Once Upon a Time in Hollywood into a drinking game full of Quentin Tarantino’s movie tropes, I would have passed out on the foot fetish imagery alone.
This film comes across as part ode to the era Tarantino grew up in and part pure passion project with him throwing in everything we’ve come to expect – gratuitous violence, flashback scenes and shared universes are all in the mix.
Tarantino takes us back to the late `60s through two stories that run parallel to one another and merge right after the crescendo – one of soon-to-be washed up TV western actor, Rick Dalton played by Leonardo DiCaprio and his stunt man and only friend, Cliff Booth, played by Brad Pitt. The other is of new starlet Sharon Tate, played by our very own Margot Robbie.
It’s not uncommon for Tarantino to have multiple running storylines from different perspectives, much like Pulp Fiction (take a drink), but unlike the cult classic that kept up its high tempo, this felt as if you were listening to a grown man’s temper tantrum over his deteriorating career for two hours. Looking at Tate’s journey into her flourishing stardom and Booth stepping into the world of Charles Manson-worshipping hippies provided some relief in the madness.
That said, if you do not know the story of Sharon Tate’s murder by members of the Manson “family”, you may be left a little confused as it more or less gives a rounded understanding of the events in the film, and of course Charles Manson’s appearance played by Australian actor Damon Herriman.
Without any real character development, Tarantino still manages to tantalise us.
Using his humour and finesse with suspense we are witness to a world that in reality is shrouded in mystery and rumours, left to our own devices to decipher Cliff’s questionable character as the crutch to his actor friend … and guessing how long until Rick will ‘dump’ him.
If you are after quintessential Tarantino, leave your shot glasses at home for your own safety.