Run time : 161 minutes

Director: Quentin Tarantino

Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, Al Pacino, Bruce Dern, Mike Moh, Emile Hirsch, Margaret Qualley, Timothy Olyphant, Austin Butler, Dakota Fanning, Damian Lewis, Kurt Russell, Narrated by Kurt Russell, Damon Herriman, Scoot McNairy, Julia Butters, Rafal Zawierucha

Synopsis: Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood visits 1969 Los Angeles, where everything is changing, as TV star Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his longtime stunt double Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) make their way around an industry they hardly recognize anymore. The ninth film from the writer-director features a   ensemble cast and multiple storylines in a tribute to the final moments of Hollywood’s golden age.

URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P3DmN7F1H-s

Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt give sparkling performances in this sprawling, bold, beautiful, brutal love letter to Hollywood at a pivotal moment at the end of its golden age. Rick Dalton (DiCaprio) is a failing, alcoholic star – a former lead in a western vigilante television series – while Cliff Booth (Pitt) is his older, slightly sinister, tough-guy body double, stunt man and chauffeur –“A buddy who is a more than a brother and a little less than a wife.”

They may be hip guys – but not hippies. The two are increasingly out of place in the New Hollywood represented by rising star Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie) who has moved into the house next door to them in the Hollywood Hills, with her husband Roman Polanski (Rafal Zawierucha), the hottest director in town.

For its near three hour run time, with meticulous attention to detail and period authenticity, Once upon a Time in Hollywood is a sensational trip through the escapist fare of movie making’s greatest era. Featuring clever ‘fourth-wall’ breaches and meta references to cinema provide a showcase for classic Tarantino wry humour and energy as he revels in the process of filmmaking, with everything from messed-up lines to cuts and replays of scenes.

The nostalgic cinematography of Robert Richardson and the evocative period soundtrack and authentic locations majestically paint the glamourous and ritzy lives of the rich and famous in the Hollywood Hills’ idyllic settings.

The film is packed with a dazzling cast of stellar cameos – Al Pacino as Marvin Schwartz, Damian Lewis as Steve McQueen, Bruce Dern as George Spahn, Dakota Fanning as Squeaky Fromme, Damon Herriman as Charles Manson and Mike Moh as Bruce Lee.

In one of the most amusing scenes, Margot Robbie as Sharon Tate is seen going to watch her own film – Phil Karlson’s 1968 spy spoof The Wrecking Crew – in a vintage Los Angeles cinema which still operates.

When Cliff (Pitt), after a random encounter, drives a young girl Pussycat (Margaret Qualley) to the Spahn movie ranch – where he had worked on films years before – he has a sinister encounter with the Manson family members in a creepy portentous interlude.

But despite the obsessive accuracy of the period detail and mise-en-scene it soon becomes obvious that this is not a literal, mimetic realist re-creation of a time and place, but something more like a skewed fairy tale – or nightmare.

Destined to be analysed and talked about for years, the film showcases brilliant acting and the trademark tropes of director Tarantino – not least buckets of bloody violence.

Images courtesy of : SONY PICTURES UK