Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

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Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is a 2019 film directed by Quentin Tarantino, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt and Margot Robbie. The film is set in 1969 Los Angeles and follows the events of Rick Dalton, a declining Western TV actor, and his stunt double Cliff Booth, who try to get jobs and fortune in the film industry in their twilight years. Hollywood gold.

The film is a tribute to Hollywood of a time when Western films were still popular and cinema was a male-dominated industry. Tarantino recreates the atmosphere of those years with great care, with its neon lights, its vintage cars and its eccentric characters.

The story of Rick and Cliff is a melancholy portrait of a world about to change. Rick is a man who is losing his identity and relevance, while Cliff is a man living day by day, without a goal or direction. The two find themselves neighbors of Sharon Tate, a young emerging actress who is on the verge of becoming a star.

The film is a mix of comedy, drama and thriller. Tarantino alternates moments of lightness and fun with moments of tension and suspense. The final scene, in particular, is an explosion of violence and madness that leaves the viewer speechless.

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is an ambitious and complex film, which has divided critics. Some considered it a masterpiece, while others found it nostalgic and self-indulgent. In any case, it is a film that has caused discussion and will continue to be discussed for many years to come.

The film was a critical and commercial success, grossing over $400 million worldwide. It received 10 Oscar nominations, winning two awards: one for best production design and one for best supporting actor for Brad Pitt.

Plot

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The film begins in 1969, in Los Angeles. Rick Dalton is a declining Western TV actor. His agent offers him to shoot a series of spaghetti westerns in Italy, but Rick is reluctant to leave Hollywood.

Cliff Booth is Rick’s stunt double and best friend. He is a taciturn and mysterious man, with a dark past. Cliff is always ready to defend Rick, even at the cost of using violence.

The two find themselves neighbors of Sharon Tate, a young emerging actress who is on the verge of becoming a star. Sharon is married to the director Roman Polanski, who often travels for work.

Rick and Cliff spend their time in Hollywood, trying to get gigs and fortune. Rick auditions for a new movie, but is passed over. Cliff instead takes care of solving Rick’s problems, such as when a group of hippies damage his car.

One day, Rick and Cliff meet the Manson family, a group of followers of the preacher Charles Manson. The two men are initially fascinated by the Manson family, but then realize that they are a threat.

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Cast

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  • Leonardo Dicaprio plays Rick Dalton, a fading Western TV actor.
  • Brad Pitt plays Cliff Booth, Rick’s stunt double and best friend.
  • Margot Robbie plays Sharon Tate, a young up-and-coming actress on the verge of becoming a star.
  • Emile Hirsch plays Jay Sebring, a hairdresser and friend of Sharon Tate.
  • Margaret Qualley she plays Pussycat, a young woman who works as a stripper.
  • Timothy Olyphant plays James Stacy, a television actor who is Rick’s rival.
  • Julia Butters she plays Trudi Fraser, a young actress who auditions with Rick.
  • Austin Butler plays Charles “Tex” Watson, a member of the Manson family.
  • Damon Herriman plays Charles Manson, the leader of the Manson family.
  • Dakota Fanning plays Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme, a member of the Manson family.
  • Rafał Zawierucha plays Roman Polanski, the director and husband of Sharon Tate.
  • Maya Hawke she plays Pussycat, a young woman who works as a stripper.

Production

Production on Once Upon a Time in Hollywood began in 2018 and concluded in 2019. The film was primarily shot in Los Angeles, California.

Tarantino wrote the film’s screenplay in 2013, but began working on it seriously only in 2017. The director said that the film is a tribute to the Hollywood of the past, when Western films were still popular and cinema was an industry dominated by men.

The cast of the film was chosen in 2018. Tarantino chose Leonardo DiCaprio for the role of Rick Dalton, Brad Pitt for the role of Cliff Booth and Margot Robbie for the role of Sharon Tate.

Filming for the film began in May 2018 and concluded in November of the same year. Filming was primarily done in Los Angeles, California. Tarantino used a variety of cinematic techniques to recreate the atmosphere of 1969 Los Angeles.

The film was released in the United States on July 26, 2019 by Columbia Pictures. The film was a critical and commercial success, grossing over $400 million worldwide.

Here are some additional details about the film’s production:

  • The film’s budget was $90 million.
  • The film was shot in 35mm and 70mm.
  • Tarantino used a variety of cinematic techniques to recreate the atmosphere of 1969 Los Angeles, including:
    • The use of vintage cameras and wide angle lenses.
    • The use of saturated colors and contrasty photography.
    • The inclusion of fictional elements in the story, such as the final scene where Rick and Cliff defeat the Manson family.
  • The film received 10 Oscar nominations, winning two awards: one for best production design and one for best supporting actor for Brad Pitt.

Distribution

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Distribution of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood was entrusted to Columbia Pictures in the United States and Sony Pictures Releasing International in the rest of the world. The film premiered on May 21, 2019 in competition at the 72nd edition of the Cannes Film Festival. The film’s US premiere was held on July 23, 2019 at the TCL Chinese Theater in Los Angeles.

The film’s release in the United States was originally scheduled for August 9 of the same year, the 50th anniversary of the Cielo Drive massacre. However, the date was later moved to July 26 to avoid controversy.

In the United Kingdom the film was released starting from 14 August, preceded by a London preview on 30 July.

Hospitality

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood was very positively received by both critics and audiences. The film received a rating of 8.7/10 on IMDb, based on over 1.5 million votes. It also earned a score of 94% on Rotten Tomatoes, based on over 500 reviews.

Critics praised the film for its direction, screenplay, performances, and recreation of the atmosphere of 1969 Los Angeles. Some critics considered the film a masterpiece, while others found it nostalgic and self-indulgent.

Audiences appreciated the film for its humor, action and story. The film was a box office success, grossing over $400 million worldwide.

Here are some of the positive comments that have been expressed about the film:

  • “An epic and ambitious film, a tribute to the Hollywood of the past and a melancholic portrait of a world that is about to change.” – The New York Times
  • “A Tarantino masterpiece, a film that is simultaneously funny, moving and violent.” – Variety
  • “A film that will be discussed for years to come, a work of great cinema.” – The Hollywood Reporter

However, there were also some critics who expressed negative comments about the film:

  • “A nostalgic and self-indulgent operation, a film that adds nothing new to Tarantino’s cinema.” – The Guardian
  • “A film that is too long and verbose, an apology for violence and misogyny.” – The Telegraph
  • “A film that doesn’t convince, a work that gets lost in a mix of genres and themes.” – The Independent
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Review

by Fabio Del Greco

Which directors have been able to influence fashions, lifestyles and cinematographic aesthetics more than Tarantino in recent years? Very few in reality, and among them Tarantino is certainly the superstar. Tarantino, with his aesthetic of pulp comic violence and his timeless characters, has managed to influence the entire world of audiovisual language, including TV broadcasts, and even beyond. “Tarantinism” is a winning model of our era.

But what is this great success due to? Probably one of the essential factors is that Tarantino’s cinema does not ask the spectator for in-depth reflections but is a type of cinema that focuses on strong emotions, aggressive characters who fight for self-affirmation, and on a world that is ideal for escaping with fantasy in the worlds constructed by cinematographic genres.

While Tarantino was building his filmography, the revaluation of what a few decades earlier had been considered minor, trashy, B-movie became increasingly established in the world, while there was an attempt to talk less and less about the great cinematographic authors who had inserted philosophical or existential elements. in their works.

This has contributed to building a mythology for the new generations which has ensured that they know and appreciate the films of Sergio Corbucci or Margheriti more than those of Robert Bresson or Antonioni. A genre cinema, fun, without commitment, made up of dirty and bad characters, which is the logical epilogue of an era that has sunk its lifestyle into consumerism.

Tarantino found himself inside the flow of this gigantic media operation and hit the nail on the head. Once upon a time in Hollywood is a summary of the characteristics of Quentin Tarantino’s cinema: verbose, ironic and grotesque dialogues, homages to B-series cinema and comics, sudden explosions of violence never taken too seriously, borderline characters on the edge between being human and cartoon.

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is a great game, even more so than his previous films, and it is also a great album of nostalgic memories of the artisanal side of a way of making films that no longer exists in the productions of the big studios but which survives in thousands of independent projects that are created every year.

The actors are directed in an amazing way and put in a position to express all their talent. The dialogues, as in all Tarantino’s films, are never predictable, never banal and often take the viewer by surprise, with an original and hilarious humour.

All the technical, photographic, scenographic and costume packaging is here at the highest levels. Directorically, Tarantino does little to please the mass audience and continually inserts innovations and surprising editing techniques, which are certainly unusual for mainstream cinema and which are his winning recipe: a mix of genre films, B movies and arthouse films.

Without a doubt, Tarantino is a film auteur, and from the first shots of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood it is recognizable to everyone that this is a Quentin Tarantino film: his trademarks are scattered everywhere.

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is a film that celebrates a certain type of cinema and adds an important element that was not present in his previous films: cinema can have the power to change the events of history on the screen, to make us dream for a few hours that the most terrible and dramatic events could have gone differently. This is what gives it a different depth and maturity.

I must admit, however, that, at least in part, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood bored me, like many other Tarantino films. Above all, I don’t appreciate the static verbiage of his insistent dialogue scenes and his digressions that dilute the narrative by often choosing not to stay focused on what’s really important. Also because in this vision of cinema as a game and as an exercise in citation of cinema itself perhaps nothing really matters.

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is not a masterpiece, and it is probably difficult to use this definition for any Tarantino film: a second viewing is enough to bring to light all the weaknesses of this work and to get bored a little more than the first time you watched it. The exact opposite of what I define as a masterpiece: a film that can be watched countless times, which grows and tells something new with each new viewing, without ever boring, revealing infinite facets.

But in the scenario of American cinema, where even films clearly devoid of soul are promoted as great auteur films, Tarantino emerges forcefully and with all the merits and is not afraid to dare to be a voice out of the chorus. Tarantino does not at all give up his poetics and everything that really interests him.

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is It’s a film worth watching, proprobably one of Tarantino’s best films because it is embellished with a new component, a melancholic, nostalgic feeling of love towards a world that no longer exists and which probably, in addition to representing an era, also represents for the director the bright years of his youth.

Rating
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