For a native of the country seemingly obsessed with fake news, it’s fake history that Quentin Tarantino has employed across multiple titles in his film-making career to great effect, including his latest and ninth film Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
Spanning a six month period between February 8 and August 8 1969, and set in Los Angeles, the film tells the tale of Hollywood actor Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his pal stuntman Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt), as they struggle to keep their careers alive.
Having bought a house in Cielo Drive, northwest of Beverly Hills, primarily to cement his status as a local in the belief it will increase his likelihood of enjoying a long career, Dalton’s next door neighbours are Roman Polanski and Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie).
Tarantino has crafted a meandering pop culture fairy-tale using the Manson Family Murders as a reference for his leading men and the movie making world they know to interact with, before “old Hollywood” comes crashing down as 1970 looms.
The film is stacked with caricatures of recognisable tinsel town tropes.
The hammy agent, the rising starlet, the frustrated actor all make an appearance in what is a heartfelt love letter to both Sharon Tate, and the neon lit era of Tarantino’s youth. It is a slow burn, and despite lacking the immediate punch of earlier classics, is still miles ahead of most other films. Using musical cues as always, the Rolling Stones tune Out of Time sums up the scenario for Dalton and Booth, and perhaps it is the sentiment closest to the surface with Tarantino himself as he approaches his “tenth and final film”.
3 & ½ Stars – “Still Miles Ahead of the Pack”