Once Upon a time in Hollywood is a dark comedy crime film written and directed by Quentin Tarantino. Set in 1969, the film stars an ensemble star-studded cast of Leonardo Di Caprio, Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie and Al Pacino. The plot centers on the a television actor in Rick Dalton alongside his stunt double Cliff Booth as they try to establish themselves in Hollywood.
The Movie-Warden’s take
From the very beginning of the trailer, you can tell that the film is trying its best to sell that distinct aesthetic of the 1960’s era in Los Angeles i.e the nature of video production, the period clothing, the Cinerama Dome theater advertising “Krakatoa; East of Java“, the vehicle designs, Kung-Fu legend Bruce Lee (at least his stunt-double) as well as the ‘Bring a little lovin‘ song by Los Bravos. Any period piece needs to stay as true to its setting as it possibly can and this film, based on its teaser, seems to excel at it while also incorporating enough nostalgic moments to excite any fanatic of 1960’s retro movies.
The trailer does not feature a whole lot of dialogue nonetheless the little that is there is used well to serve the characterization case in point in the early shots with Rick and Cliff doing an interview. Rick is asked what exactly a stunt double does to which he replies, “Actors are required to do a lot of dangerous stuff, Cliff here is meant to help carry the load.”; a statement which Pitt’s character concurs on. Their expressions on the matter are pretty much an accurate depiction of how the movie-making model worked back then and continues to work even in present times; a model which this film will substantially feature in its storytelling.
Additionally, Rick and Cliff’s brief interactions are a good set-up of what we should expect of the nature of their relationship before we see the film. The two of them seem quite close workmates and friends; a factor which might foreshadow a conflict between them in the movie. Sort of like a calm before the storm, if you know what I mean.
Quentin Tarantino is well known for making quite controversial films and this one is certainly not going to be an exception. Being the director that he is with the reputation that he has, I think one of the reasons he decided to take on a movie like this is because of the possibility of exploring the common and largely controversial themes known to most 1960’s flicks. These themes include Cold War, Vietnam, Civil Rights Movements, Women’s right movements, Rock n Roll, Riots and Protests and of course, Assassinations. Even though the trailer does not hint at any of the above themes, I am quite sure a number of them will feature in the movie or even in the forthcoming trailers and will be interwoven into either Rick Dalton’s or Cliff Booth’s character arcs or even both.
I am not a big Tarantino fan myself but I must admit, he does have a unique way of doing things as a storyteller and I respect that, hence my anticipation for the movie. Moreover, I am saying this from the perspective of an aspiring film-maker since I also crave to have a unique touch in my future motion-pictures.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood premiers on 26th July, 2019… can’t wait!