Once Upon a Time in Hollywood - By Sabrina Joshi

Three years after the release of his last film, The Hateful Eight, Quentin Tarantino now returns with his ninth film: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, a nostalgic trip that takes us back to the 1960s Hollywood. Like his classic films, Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill, Tarantino’s latest film features some of Hollywood’s finest talents, and promises to be a theatrical and larger-than-life experience for all.

Set in Los Angeles, the film follows two intertwining storylines. One revolves around fictional characters, Rick Dalton and the other on Cliff Booth. Dalton, portrayed by Leonardo DiCaprio, is a washed-up ageing TV actor, while Brad Pitt plays Cliff Booth, Dalton’s best friend and stunt double. Dalton, best known for his 1950s Western black and white films, is desperately trying to make his career comeback with Booth by his side. Dalton’s alcohol addiction and his unfamiliarity of the new, fast-changing Hollywood is making it difficult for him to revive his fading career. Booth, on the other hand, is a Vietnam War veteran who lives a content, meek lifestyle in a humble trailer park home.

The second storyline follows Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie), a real-life Hollywood actress and model in the 60s who was married to a film director, Roman Polanski. The celebrity couple cross paths with Dalton and Booth when they move into a house next door to Dalton, in what is now the renowned 10050 Cielo Drive in Beverly Hills. This was the infamous home whereof the Manson Murders occurred in 1969.

As Dalton and Booth navigate through Hollywood, they encounter Los Angeles’ most glamorous facets, and its dangerous and darker side. Tarantino explores Charles Manson (Damon Herriman), the erratic cult leader and his followers who were known as the ‘Manson Family’. Manson and his deranged followers lived at the dilapidated Spahn movie ranch, where they spent their time stalking and harassing the local community. It was not long before the frightening derelicts reveal their true nature, one with darker and more sinister intentions.

Tarantino relives the harrowing Manson Murders that occurred in Tate’s home. Tate, eight and a half months pregnant, was among the five people who were sadistically slaughtered by the Manson Family. The Manson Murders are widely considered being one of the most brutal and shocking crimes in American history.

Like his previous films, Tarantino will surely impress and surprise audiences. His complex work is unique, with each project wildly different from the previous. Lead actress, Margot Robbie expresses, “I don’t think anyone has walked into a Tarantino film and not been surprised… It’s not like anything else. It’s not a remake, it’s not a prequel, it’s its own thing entirely… it is so unique in a way only Tarantino can pull off”.

Leading stars, Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, and Margot Robbie are backed by an incredible cast which includes, Al Pacino, Kurt Russell, Dakota Fanning, Bruce Dern, Margaret Qualley, Damian Lewis and many more. Produced by Columbia Pictures, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is a true homage to the Golden Era of Hollywood. The film is distributed by Sony Pictures and arrived in theatres on July 26, 2019.          

 Sabrina Joshi Hollywood Correspondent