BRIAN VINER reviews Once Upon a Time by Quentin Tarantino in America

Tate and style … Quentin Tarantino & # 39; s 60 & # 39; s movie is an absolute journey: BRIAN VINER reviews Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

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Once upon a time … Hollywood (18)

Rating:

Fifty years ago next week, a grotesque series of murders in Los Angeles changed not only the mood of a city but of an era. Seven people were slaughtered indiscriminately by insane disciples of cult leader Charles Manson.

They include actress Sharon Tate, the young, heavily pregnant wife of film director Roman Polanski.

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Now Quentin Tarantino has used that notorious event as the background for his stunning new movie Once Upon A Time In … Hollywood.

For me, his masterpiece will always be Pulp Fiction (1994), but this black comedy with Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt – both in great shape – is not far behind,

Quentin Tarantino uses the grotesque murders of seven people in Los Angeles, including actress Sharon Tate, as the background for his stunning new movie Once Upon A Time In ... Hollywood (Margot Robbie as Sharon Tate)

Quentin Tarantino uses the grotesque murders of seven people in Los Angeles, including actress Sharon Tate, as the background for his stunning new movie Once Upon A Time In ... Hollywood (Margot Robbie as Sharon Tate)

Quentin Tarantino uses the grotesque murders of seven people in Los Angeles, including actress Sharon Tate, as the background for his stunning new movie Once Upon A Time In … Hollywood (Margot Robbie as Sharon Tate)

DiCaprio plays Rick Dalton, a self-pitying, insecure TV actor who is prone to excessive alcohol consumption and worries that his career is declining. Pitt is Cliff Booth, the moving loyal friend of Rick and stunt double.

The story takes place occasionally, with a series of sometimes extremely funny set pieces that are not really connected.

But the story is driven by one compelling fact – Rick has moved to a house in LA next to Polanski and Tate, the latter very sweetly played by Margot Robbie.

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The film takes us on a trip to that horrible night in August 1969, but along the way Tarantino has a 1960s Hollywood scream, such as the party scene in Hugh Hefner's Playboy Mansion, where we admire a stoned Steve McQueen (Damian Lewis) who are the glamorous female guests.

Tarantino recreates the era with abundant references to the films of that time, to TV shows such as Bonanza, as well as to fashion and music from the sixties.

Rick himself has been the star of a Bonanza-type series, but a hotshot agent producer (played with glorious, cigar-chattering swagger by Al Pacino) tells him that his career is going nowhere – that he needs a film role .

Leonardo DiCaprio plays Rick Dalton (center), a self-pitying, insecure TV actor who is prone to excessive drinking. Brad Pitt (left) is Cliff Booth, Rick's touchingly loyal friend and double stunt (right: Al Pacino as Marvin Schwarz, agent of Dalton and Hollywood producer)

Leonardo DiCaprio plays Rick Dalton (center), a self-pitying, insecure TV actor who is prone to excessive drinking. Brad Pitt (left) is Cliff Booth, Rick's touchingly loyal friend and double stunt (right: Al Pacino as Marvin Schwarz, agent of Dalton and Hollywood producer)

Leonardo DiCaprio plays Rick Dalton (center), a self-pitying, insecure TV actor who is prone to excessive drinking. Brad Pitt (left) is Cliff Booth, Rick's touchingly loyal friend and double stunt (right: Al Pacino as Marvin Schwarz, agent of Dalton and Hollywood producer)

For me, his masterpiece will always be Pulp Fiction (1994), but this black comedy with Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt - both in great form - is not far behind
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For me, his masterpiece will always be Pulp Fiction (1994), but this black comedy with Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt - both in great form - is not far behind

For me, his masterpiece will always be Pulp Fiction (1994), but this black comedy with Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt – both in great form – is not far behind

Rick lands one, a Western, directed by Sam Wanamaker (Nicholas Hammond), allowing Tarantino to indulge in a movie camera version of a mirror room – DiCaprio plays a villain directed by Wanamaker, directed by Tarantino.

There are also beautiful turns of stars such as Kurt Russell, Dakota Fanning and Bruce Dern and, this is a Tarantino photo, a full repertoire of tricks – voiceovers, split screens, quirky captions, slow-mo and flashbacks to add. add to the fun.

But behind that pleasure there is real tension because the story is inexorably moving towards a bloody end that we all already know – or think we know.

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But instead of dwelling on the Tate murders, let's say, to use the vernacular of the 1960s, that Once Upon A Time In … Hollywood is an absolute journey.

Once Upon A Time In … Hollywood is going out on August 14.

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