freddie_kayy’s review published on Letterboxd:
Quentin Tarantino is arguably the most notorious, provocative and high-flying director that has played the emotions of audiences across the globe since the 90s. With his latest feature, and his ninth film, Once Upon a Time … In Hollywood introduces us to the strangest foundation for a story centering on TV cowboys, disgruntled stuntmen, the Manson cult and Hollywood that you could’ve showed me. For lack of a better word, we’re shh’d down a notch, and it gets surreally quiet. I’ve always connected with Tarantino’s grand sense of style and genre focused entertainment within the sense of his filmography, but what is most enveloping here is Tarantino’s fixation on the atmosphere of 1969. The buzz of the first act is so unnaturally real yet strangely holistic that I actually became rather fond of it. And yet? I still have no idea what to think of this film. To sum it up, it’s like watching television at a funeral. Sort of an endearing, teary eyed look back on the legacy of the bygone era of Hollywood in a way that is the slowest I’ve ever seen one of his narratives move. This is not as violently rewarding for inspecting horrific world events like Inglorious Basterds or Django: Unchained and that’s even considering THAT batshit 15 minutes leading to the conclusion, forever iron branded in my brain. This isn’t even as sly as The Hateful Eight in the three hours it takes to get where it is going, no, this is a journey that beckons some further reading and some research. Which is very impressive, and there is obviously some extreme work put into this subtext, but what I loved about his last three films is the constant tonal excitement. The flare, and it just is not there. I kinda loved this but also kind of really didn’t that much.
Oh, and Leonardo Di Caprio and Brad Pitt are very, very funny.