Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio starrer Once Upon a Time in Hollywood received a six-minute standing ovation after it was premiered at the Cannes Film Festival 2019 on Tuesday. Quentin Tarantino’s ninth film has a “startling and provocative” ending, enough to receive a thumbs-up from the critics. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood also stars Margot Robbie, Tim Roth, James Marsden, Dakota Fanning and Timothy Olyphant.
In Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, DiCaprio plays a fading actor, while Pitt plays his stunt double, friend and, because of a drunk driving offense, his driver. Though set against the backdrop of the Manson Family murders, much of Tarantino’s film is invested in recapturing the radiance of a bygone Hollywood.
The Guardian gave the film five stars, labelling it “outrageous, disorientating entertainment.” The review read, “It’s shocking, gripping, dazzlingly shot in the celluloid-primary colours of sky blue and sunset gold: colours with the warmth that Mama Cass sang about.” The review added, “Not just erotic cinephilia, but TV-philia, an intense awareness of the small screen background to everyone’s lives.”
The Hollywood Reporter lauded the film’s bold storytelling. “With richly detailed input from production designer Barbara Ling and beyond-cool retro fashions from costumer Arianne Phillips, Tarantino folds the low-key buddy comedy into a lovingly recreated, almost fetishistic celebration of late ‘60s Hollywood, infused with colour and vitality by cinematographer Robbie Richardson.” THR also mentioned some loopholes, but also suggested they can easily be ignored. “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is uneven, unwieldy in its structure and not without its flat patches. But it’s also a disarming and characteristically subversive love letter to its inspiration.”
As per Vanity Fair, “one’s allegiance to the film is consistently won back by DiCaprio and Pitt, who make easy, and disarmingly humble, platonic poetry out of this curious dynamic.” Its review also read, “[Tarantino’s] always been a great director of actors, and here he manages to wipe away some of the gunk of time and fame to find an indefinable It-ness that used to get people noticed at lunch counters… In so doing, Tarantino lets us access some of the love he so ardently wants us to feel for all his cherished arcana.”
For The Evening Standard, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is “a highly enjoyable but pretty leisurely in-joke, a fond homage to the way Hollywood was back in the day,” while also being “sensationally violent even by Quentin’s high standards.”
The Collider summed it all up by writing in its review, Tarantino has “never made a film that ends up as sweet and nostalgic as his latest.”
Both Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio have previously collaborated with Quentin Tarantino. While Pitt worked with the eccentric filmmaker in the Nazi drama Inglorious Bastards, Leonardo joined hands with the director on the western Django Unchained.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood will release on August 9 this year.
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