We are now entering the twilight period of Quentin Tarantino’s career. The director plans on retiring after 10 films, which makes Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood, officially labeled as his “ninth” feature, feel like a bittersweet release. Sure, it’s a movie that most of us are dying to see, but it also feels like one step closer towards the end of a remarkable era. If Tarantino really does call it quits soon, Hollywood will lose a true original.
As for the movie itself, early reviews have been overwhelmingly positive. In his review for this site, Luke Hicks describes it as “evocative, playful, cheery, caring, and kind towards the past”, which are adjectives people don’t often associate with Tarantino’s brand of bloody cinema. Of course, this is still a Tarantino film — and one that features the Manson Family, no less — so expect some dark passages and violence.
For his latest outing, Tarantino gathered an all-star cast and traveled back to 1969. As you’ll see in the trailer footage, the movie is a love letter to a bygone era of Hollywood that shaped Tarantino as a person and as a filmmaker. Check it out.
Now that’s a great trailer. It’s colorful, vibrant, and very funny. However, there are some eerie moments peppered in towards the end that sent a chill down my spine. While the movie looks fun, Tarantino is playing with some sensitive subject matter, and the trailer doesn’t shy away from presenting a couple of haunting images that will stick with you. That said, overall it’s a comedic affair, so let’s unpack it.
We open with a car driving through the sunny streets of Los Angeles. When the vehicle comes to a halt, a man exits the passenger door and a few cigarette butts fall to the ground. It’s evident from the outset that this gentleman has a nasty smoking habit.
Two men enter a bar and the smoker observes the room ahead. A voiceover introduces him as Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio).
We’re then introduced to Mr. Shwarz (Al Pacino), who asks if the man accompanying Rick is his son.
Rick laughs off Shwarz’s joke and says that it’s his stunt double, Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt). It would appear that Rick is an actor and Shwarz is involved in the entertainment business as some kind of agent or producer. Cliff, on the other hand, knows his place as a sidekick and ignores the conversation.
Schwarz enthusiastically discusses how he recently watched a Rick Dalton double feature and proceeds to fire an invisible machine gun. This is the liveliest Pacino has been in quite some time and it’s refreshing to see him having fun again.