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'Once Upon A Time in Hollywood' is a masterful Tarantino joyride

Brad Pitt, left, and Leonardo DiCaprio in Quentin Tarantino's "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood". Picture: AP

Brad Pitt, left, and Leonardo DiCaprio in Quentin Tarantino's "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood". Picture: AP

Published Aug 30, 2019


Nostalgia rules in Quentin Tarantino’s ninth film outing and despite the length, almost every minute is a pure joy to watch.

For movie buffs, it’s pure heaven as the creator of "Pulp Fiction", "Inglorious Basterds" and "Reservoir Dogs" more than delivers in a triumphant homage to the glory days of Hollywood

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With a large star-studded ensemble cast who play multiple roles in several storylines that keep you on your toes, viewers are taken on a joyride that has one riveted and glued to one’s seat and entertained from the first moment.

In fact, glued is the incorrect word as one wants to get up and dance to the most fabulous ’60s soundtrack.

Has-been Hollywood actor Rick Dalton and once the former star-attraction of the ’50s Western TV series Bounty Law, is beginning to feel like he’s on his way out.

He’s told by his casting agent Marvin Schwarz that starring in Spaghetti Westerns in Italy could put his acting career on forward drive again but Dalton is doubtful.

Dalton’s sidekick and stunt double is Cliff Booth - a war vet who lives in a trailer with Brandy, the soppiest pit bull I’ve ever seen until (and more of that later).

Both Leo and Brad, as Dalton and Booth respectively, fit into their roles brilliantly, creating an on-screen union that is a match made in heaven.

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The pair seem to take the most wicked delight in playing their parts - with Leo as the alcoholic Dalton who has a Southern drawl that stretches back and forth like an elastic band and Brad looking like the cute cowboy - defying his age with a honed body and a six pack enough to make someone half his age envious.

Booth also happens to drive Dalton around town because of his fondness for the bottle, and there are murmurs that Booth murdered his wife.

The pair act up a storm in a host of wacky scenes that make one smile, giggle and gape.

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They’re like a married couple finishing off each others’ sentences and each with a dependence on the other that seemingly carries them through their autumn years

Into this comfortable scenario, Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie) and hubby Roman Polanski move in next door to Dalton and he wistfully dreams of reviving his career by visiting the couple and making nice with director Polanski.

Sure as anything, the next night they party together at a glitzy affair at the Playboy mansion (another gorgeous spectacle to watch).

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Simmering underneath this all (among some other storylines) we start to see glimpses of the hippies who live with Charles Manson (an old friend of Booth’s) at the Spahn ranch outside town and how his visit there is the beginning of a creepy prelude to what is about to come.

There’s little to fault in an all-round fabulous portrayal - the screenplay, the arching back and forth to superb locales in the various storylines, the vignettes and the zany humour.

The end is a grande finale, explosively and spectacularly linking everything together in unexpected ways - suffice it to say you’ll see some rather gory knife work, the pit bull gets to go on attack mode and there’s spectacular flame throwing.

Tarantino is at his best, creating a masterpiece that should be seen by every movie buff and lover of good acting and brilliant cinematography.

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