Candice Anvari staff writer
With a particularly successful past, including movies such as “The Hateful Eight,” “Jackie Brown,” and “Pulp Fiction,” Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” set itself apart from the crowd in the worst ways possible.
The film is a depiction of the life of western actor Rick Dalton, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, and his stunt double Cliff Booth, played by Brad Pitt. The two best friends must navigate their way through the changing industry of 1969 Hollywood, a time in which western movies became less popular. Along the way, they encounter obstacles such as wild hippies who committed the Manson Murders. There have been rumors that “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” is potentially Tarantino’s last film before retirement, which is unfortunate due to the unmemorable impression the film projected.
The movie started out egregiously slow with a conversation between Rick Dalton and a casting manager. The conversation was unnecessary and nearly sleep inducing, starting the film off on the wrong foot within the first few minutes. Tarantino should have created a more engaging scene in the beginning of the film, rather than conducting a conversation that held little meaning to the film as a whole.
As the movie progressed, more problems became vividly transparent.
The characters of the film came off as too arrogant, overly dramatic and unnaturally emotional. The emotional aspect to Rick Dalton’s dramatic personality was supposed to be a way to incorporate comic relief into the film, but instead, his personality came off as annoying and childish. Cliff Booth’s character was cliche and his connection to Dalton did not present well. The characters’ dialogue did not allow them to emotionally connect with one another in a way that would have allowed the connection to be felt, as a result of the disconnected interactions. Throughout the length of the film, there was no character development. All the characters had a specific trait that they embodied throughout the whole movie, which presented a boring stylistic choice through the lack of creativity each personality possessed.
Not only were the characters problematic, but the story also lacked conflict.
The antagonists of the story were clearly the Manson murderers. Even though their fight scene with Rick Dalton and Cliff Booth was supposed to be comical, it was disgusting and dreadful to have to sit through. The sound effects were incredibly uncomfortable to have to listen to and the gruesome images of the beaten up Manson family took eyes off the big screen.
One of the main issues that stood out with the film was the fact it contained multiple plot holes that needed to be filled in order for the movie to have a fulfilling ending. For one, there were multiple occasions in which a story or a detail would be introduced by a character yet it would never fully take root. The insufficient amount of care that went into explaining empty holes in the plot negatively distinguished this film from Tarantino’s others.
Overall, the movie lacked development and fulfillment. The movie felt like two hours and 41 minutes of excruciating discomfort. Highlights would rate “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” a 3/10.