REVIEW: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood Shines at Cannes
25 May, 2019
25 years to the date of when edgy, prolific and talented Hollywood heavyweight director Quentin Taratino premiered ‘Pulp Fiction’ (1994) to Cannes Film Festival audiences, this past Tuesday, May 21st, the seasoned filmmaker who has consistently made Hollywood blockbuster hits, such as ‘Django Unchained’ (2012), ‘Inglorious Bastards’ (2009), ‘The Hateful Eight’ (2015), and of course his classic crime drama ‘Reservoir Dogs’ (1992), world premiered his newest film, spawning an absolute frenzy amongst movie executives, filmmakers, media and cinephiles alike at the world-renowned international film festival in the South of France.
Tarantino’s hauntingly comedic star-studded ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,’ set in the summer of 1969, which drew in the fanatic festival crowds, stars Leonardo DiCaprio (‘Inception’ (2010), ‘The Reverent’ (2015), ‘Django Unchained’ (2012)). DiCaprio, who hasn’t made a film for four years since his leading role in ‘The Reverent,’ plays TV actor, Rick Dalton, whose career is waning. Dalton’s sidekick, Cliff Booth, a wickedly athletic and tough stuntman, is his best friend, perfectly played by Brad Pitt (‘Inglorious Bastards’ (2009), ‘Moneyball’ (2011), ‘Oceans Twelve’ (2004), ‘Ocean’s Thirteen’ (2007)). Both star alongside the always shining Margot Robbie (‘I,Tonya’ (2017), ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ (2013), ‘Suicide Squad’ (2016)), who is the lighthearted, yet emotionally deep actress Sharon Tate and the wife of Roman Polanski. Before the start of the movie, the director issued a statement and special request asking that viewers not reveal any spoilers before its summer theatrical release.
DiCaprio’s and Pitt’s characters possess a slick, masculine swagger and are a two-some with an unbreakable brotherly bond. Cliff is always ready to give his buddy Rick pep talks whenever his friend gets discouraged about his sinking acting career. Following a meeting with big shot movie agent, Marvin Schwartz (Al Pacino), who puts down Rick’s career convincing the actor that his time in the spotlight is coming to an end, Schwartz convinces him to move to Italy to make second rate Italian westerns, and Cliff is ready and willing to support Rick and go along for the ride. Following Dalton’s 6 month movie-making stint in Italy, he returns home, bringing back with him a new beautiful Italian wife, “Francesca Capucci,” the type of woman desired by all men in the industry–charmingly, hilariously and skillfully played by talented Chilean actress, Lorenza Izzo (‘The House with a Clock in Its Walls’ (2018), ‘Life Itself’ (2018)), who will be starring as “Celina,” in the upcoming indie production, ‘Women Is Losers,’ written and directed by Lissette Feliciano (‘With Children’ (2017)) and produced by Andrea Chung (‘Seoul Searching’ (2015), ‘Heartbeats’ (2017)).
In addition, a second storyline that intersects with the film’s Hollywood movie industry focus, centers around the Manson family cult murders, which takes the film on a haunting turn and results in one of Tarantino’s classic, bloody fight scenes involving a comical Pitt and Izzo against a group of devil possessed Manson followers. Dakota Fanning also appears in the flick as the cult’s ring leader, and the film has lengthy surprise appearances by late, ‘90210’ legend Luke Perry, as well as notable roles by Kurt Russell and Lena Dunham. Further, newcomer Mike Moh, who plays a wacky and cocky Bruce Lee, takes part in a very funny martial arts battle scene in which he is ironically beaten by Pitt’s fearless and physically dominant character.
Taratino’s film is an ode to the old, Golden Age of Hollywood, a time before the #MeToo movement, when Hugh Hefner’s Playboy culture was respected and revered. We can strongly feel the director’s nostalgia for this period in time through the film’s dreamy Hollywoodesque characters, picturesque scenes and movie sets. This film roots from the personal memories of the Hollywood that Tarantino grew up around.
Following its May 21, 2019 72nd Cannes Film Festival gala premiere, ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’ will be released in theaters on July 26, 2019.
All Photos: Paul Smith / Featureflash
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