About “Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood” (2019)

(warning – huge spoilers!)

I liked the movie but won’t go for 10 out of 10. 9/10, though, is good enough. I liked the action at the end, and I enjoyed the first part of the movie, but it was just too long. I liked the music, the dialogues, character development, the Bruce Lee fight, the fights at the end. I didn’t like to watch a long movie for just a little action.

Details about the movie:

  • Director / writer: Quentin Tarantino.
  • Main characters: Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie.
  • Trailer »
  • IMDb page » (you may want to read some reviews)

As an intro, one thought about movie reviews – if I would just say “Good movie, 9/10, go see it”, it wouldn’t capture the “Whys”. I will try below to go from Why? to Why? in an attempt to explain my reasoning for which I give a 9/10. I don’t consider that a one-line review can explain why you like a movie good enough. And you’d have to trust my movie-reviewing abilities quite a lot to just take a “9/10” grade, without any other explanations.

Some details:

  • Some things I like about Mr. Tarantino, not only in this movie:
    • The music in his movies. Not every song is extraordinary, but most of them are in good harmony with what’s on the screen and some songs in his movies, this one included, are really great (I really enjoyed the music from Kill Bill, for example).
    • Sometimes, violence in his movies upsets you. In Django Unchained, some scenes are really upsetting. But in a lot of times, you feel that the violence is somehow justified, and sometimes it’s actually funny (in this movie when Bruce Lee loses a fight or the scene with the flamethrower).
    • He focuses on the details a lot. Everything seems in its place. You feel you aren’t watching a movie which could have been done on fast forward, but, instead, it makes you wonder how everything fits well in its place.
    • Generally, the dialogues are very simple, if there’s a mistake people put a lot of emphasis on correcting it (like a misspelled word). Sometimes, the dialogues feel a bit unnatural, but, all-in-all, they are entertaining and easy to follow. As a side note, in the current movie, a little girl speaks way above her age and uses complicated words. It’s a bit ironic, and I think it’s intentional.
    • The suspense was quite nicely built. Not exaggerated, but nice. I liked that.
    • There were some clichés, but, nevertheless the movie was very entertaining.
  • About this movie:
    • Too much build-up for the final scene, and other than that pretty much the only action was with one or two fights (with Bruce Lee and in the camp).
    • The movie doesn’t explain anything about Manson Family. If you don’t live in the US, there’s a chance you know nothing about this, and you will not understand why the people in the camp act as fanatics. You just take them as they are, but don’t understand the background.
    • I liked a lot that the fanatics’ lines were biased. It’s like the news. If you read some news sources with a clear political orientation, you will see the news is biased, some things are omitted, they try to influence you in one way or another. One bad guy in the movie plans to kill a group of people, but he asks: “Do you think I’m a liar?” (approximate quote). So, it’s fine if they kill people, but being called a liar is wrong.
    • I enjoyed the flamethrower scenes. Also the biting scenes with the dog.
    • The scene where the dog attacks just at the right moment waiting for a sign from Brad Pitt is a bit stretched. We see in the movie that the dog is trained very well, and there is a good communication between the dog and her master, but that point is a bit exaggerated. Very entertaining, though.
    • I read later in some reviews of the movie that the neighbor interpreted by Margot Robbie was actually killed by the Mansons in real life. But in the movie, if you didn’t know about that, it seemed like there was no connection between the neighbors. They presented a lot of things about the neighbors without a clear connection to the main plot.
    • I also found the Italy and Al Pacino story of going to Italy irrelevant. They wrote “after 6 months”, they could have written “after 12 months, 6 of them in Italy where the main character gets married” and you wouldn’t miss pretty much anything.
    • I’ve seen some connections with the following movies: The Wolf of Wall Street, Inglorious Basterds, Django Unchained. I’m sure there were many others.
    • I haven’t noticed Tarantino playing in his own movie. As far as I know, he shows up sometimes in the movies, but I didn’t see him here.
    • Seeing Bruce Lee on the screen was so nice! It made me wonder why other directors don’t do this more often.

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