We follow the journey of a fictional actor named Rick Dalton (Leonardo Dicaprio) who although his name has soared to star in several tv series but slowly his career is starting to fade. Even the stuntman, Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) who is always with him, spends more time as a driver and Rick’s housekeeper than doing work as a stuntman does . The 9th work of director Quentin Tarantino, although following 2 fictional main characters, is set in real Hollywood in the 1960s, by including real characters such as Bruce Lee or Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie). Although it is important to remember that this film is set in an alternate world, it cannot be compared to the actual events.
Although Quentin Tarantino’s name is well known, his work has not received a positive response from the general public, who considers his films to be mostly talkative and then close with sadistic scenes. Yes, even though it’s not completely wrong, but for me the films are filled with dialogue that seems unimportant, that’s where the difference lies in Tarantino who makes the talkative scene something that not only provides information but also adds to the tension which will culminate in a bloody scene. . But that can’t be found in Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood .
The dialogues in this film, instead of providing interesting tension to follow, turn out to be just casual chats that don’t even provide meaningful information. It was only recorded that Rick’s conversation with a child actor at the shooting location clearly illustrates Rick’s indecisiveness. The rest is just normal dialogue, in fact most of the dialogue is centered when Rick is acting. It’s arguably the most normal Tarantino film – well at least the ones I’ve seen excluding Death Proof and Jackie Brown – and it’s a disappointment.
It’s quite natural, considering that the main title of this film is reminiscing about the golden era of Hollywood and Tarantino’s love of cinema. We are invited to tour Hollywood in the 1960s and play around with references. Through Rick Dalton’s story, the audience is also shown that the actor’s life is not as sparkling as it is and sometimes has a hard road and is replaced by the emergence of new actors. Rick Dalton’s anxiety which is inversely proportional to the scene when Sharon Tate, played by Margot Robbie, witnessed the reaction of the audience who were enthusiastic about seeing the film, was the thing I could feel the most, because of my lack of references to the era referred to in this film. The rest feels empty.
That void can have the effect of being boring if there were no Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt. These 2 top actors can look fun even though there is nothing too interesting in this film. I love it when Leo gets angry because the actor he played failed to play his part and then comes back and puts on an amazing performance. It’s really nice to see Leo act as an actor in action, which feels cooler than his acting in The Revenant which brought him his first Oscar. Brad Pitt whose position is more “on the side” is no less cool, and they both display a dynamic duo as expected when their names appear on the poster.
But the most disturbing to me is the choice Tarantino film is positioned as a fairy tale by making a real story as inspiration, not one heck lha wong title implies wide opening words of the fairytale. Alternative worlds are no stranger to Tarantino who has done it in Inglorious Basterds , but when the film was still acceptable, this time it was difficult to accept and agree “don’t take it too seriously, this is just a fictional film”. At its premiere, the film received strong resistance from Bruce Lee’s son about the portrayal of his father in this film. After watching this film, I can understand why because even when watching Bruce Lee, he became the object of laughter and it was very difficult not to laugh at him.
This reaches its climax when how Tarantino closes his film with regards to Sharon Tate’s story. When I watched Mindhunter season 1 2 years ago , I read a lot of stories about serial killers, and Charlie Manson and his “family” were one of the craziest. Although Charlie’s appearance has been teased and then his “family” becomes an important part of the plot, in fact Tarantino chooses to portray it in a completely different way. As a result, when the film ended, I was completely empty and thought: does the ending presented do justice to how tragic the actual events are, regardless of the film’s capacity in an alternative reality?