It must be great being Quentin Tarantino. You can make whatever the hell you want and everyone praises you regardless of the quality of the film.
Once Upon a Time is a revisionist history of a different age of Hollywood. A period that Tarantino clearly has a fondness for. Leo plays a TV actor, struggling with alcoholism and the impending doom of becoming too old and obsolete. Pitt plays his best friend/stuntman/driver/possible wife murderer. They act around on the periphery of one of Hollywood’s most horrible events, the murder of Sharon Tate by Manson cult members.
Minor spoilers ahead.
Remarkably, for a movie this long, it is surprisingly watchable. Leo and Pitt are acting powerhouses. The scenes are well shot and mostly amusing, if pointless. Maybe that’s the point? We are watching people living their lives with gratuitous foot fetish shots knowing that just around the corner are some horrible murders?
I, thankfully, knew nothing going in. So when the big twist that the Manson members targeted Pitt and Leo instead of Tate, resulted in some amazing revenge murder, I was genuinely surprised. I laughed and laughed, as I know Tarantino did making it. He can’t take away what happened, but he can let us enjoy an alternative.
But it still makes no sense that this film is up for any Oscars. Except maybe costume design. The film literally decides to add a narrator at 1:30. No warning. Just Kurt Russel’s voice explaining things.
We all know Gerwig deserved that nomination over Tarantino.
3 out of 4 stars.