After its world premiere at the Official Competition of the last Cannes Film Festival, the ninth (indeed tenth) feature film by the director most revered by world cinephilia came to theaters worldwide conceived of pure nostalgia (it takes place in Los Angeles of 1969), with a playful spirit, the charisma and glamor of a plethoric cast of stars and an immeasurable love for the seventh art, the new work of the director of Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, Jackie Brown, the two deliveries of Kill Bill, Death Proof, Inglourious Basterds, Django, etc.
A mix of genres (western, comedy, thriller, buddy movie, musical, gore, etc.) with a lot of cinema inside it (it begins with a black and white “behind the scenes” of a series of cowboys called Bounty Law and includes fragments of films of the time - as one of the revenge against the Nazis with pure flamethrowers - but filmed, of course, by Tarantino himself), Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood was released in Cannes and in the United States had multiple projections with 70mm copies. A very decisive and cinephile posture.
Although it is tangentially linked to the sinister Manson clan, the almost three hours of film point to something else. The story of Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie) is the excuse, the closest plot to the thriller of a film in which Tarantino wants to rebuild, recover and exalt a time and place: the Hollywood of the late '60s. The protagonists are Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio), an actor of some renown as evil in TV series and minor films (he says he feels a “has been”) that would be something like a mix between Burt Reynolds and Clint Eastwood (like this one, travels to Italy and Spain to shoot spaghetti westerns); and Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt), a war hero who is his double risk, his driver, his confidant and his assistant in everyday matters, such as fixing the television antenna on the roof. As Tarantino admitted, this character is inspired by Hal Needham, a stunt that accompanied Reynolds for a long time.
The film starts with an old Columbia logo and during the almost three hours has so many elements that the enumeration would be almost endless: trips on the missing Pan Am airline, drive-ins and large halls, neon signs, Cadillacs and many convertible cars, party at the Playboy Mansion with bunnies included, the abandoned Spahn Ranch where Westerns were filmed and then the Manson clan was installed, the old Hollywood studios, a lysergic trip behind take LSD and even a nice dog that turns into something not exactly adorable.
Direct or indirect, obvious or attentive eyes, the tributes are multiple. There are also several series, comics, radios of the time that are heard off and many movie characters appear in the plot: from Sharon Tate to Roman Polanski, passing by Steve McQueen and Bruce Lee.
With a very important budget for an author who is more prestigious than box office (cost about 100 million dollars), with the charisma of his interpreters (in addition to the leading trio there are a lot of small appearances or minimal cameos to the point that it would seem that half Hollywood participated in the filming), with its usual jukebox in the background (songs don't stop playing), multiple movie and comic references, and a universe made up of neon posters, movie posters, halls and movie theaters, Tarantino gives an accumulation of beautiful elements here.
But the detractors will not be lacking (that violence against women, that the constant teasing of hippies, that almost does not speak of Vietnam, that devotes too many minutes to little transcendent issues for an uninitiated public, which is like a rich child with new toys without anyone controlling it).