Once Upon A Time in Hollywood is one of the most highly anticipated films of 2019 that isn't a sequel or a superhero film. Quentin Tarantino's 9th film sports of murderers row of talent playing, well, what once was considered in Hollywood a murderers row of talent. Set in 1969 and centered around the incident known as "The Sharon Tate Murders," the film's entry point starts with television actor Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his stunt double, Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt). The first look at them in the Once Upon A Time In Hollywood teaser suggests this could be a huge hit.
Most of this movie features real people from the era, including real-life actors Bruce Lee (Mike Moh), Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie), and Steve McQueen (Damien Lewis). There's also real behind-the-scenes talent represented too, including directors Roman Polanski (Rafał Zawierucha) and Sam Wanamaker (Nicholas Hammond), and hairstylist Jay Sebring (Emile Hirsch). As this film involves the Tate Murders, both Charles Manson (Damon Herriman) and Squeaky Fromme (Dakota Fanning) are part of the storyline as well.
However, Pitt and DiCaprio are playing fictional characters, wannabes who are trying to break into Hollywood, and who just so happen to be neighbors to the real story.
Check out the trailer.
It seems somehow utterly Tarantino-esque to take a story which is about the murder of a glamorous actress, Sharon Tate, by a group of women, lead by Fromme, and turn it into a story all about men. However, this is Tarantino, the man who began his career with a film where the dialogue idealized Charles Bronson. Therefore, it should surprise no one that a film set in the real world of late 1960s Hollywood should star an actor who is trying to be Charles Bronson, and his stunt double who could be.
It helps that both DiCaprio and Pitt look fabulous in the clothes of the period, and get to have a lot of fun with the world of the "movie within the movie." Fans of 1960s films will most likely flock to see this, if for no other reason than to experience the recreation of what it was like behind the scenes.
However, this is also unfortunate, as it looks like it gives short shrift to the Tate Murders. Her death was a huge story, not just because the dead included a pregnant actress who has just received her first Golden Globe nomination for Valley of the Dolls. The incident was seen as the "end of the 1960s" with the idea of these heretofore idealistic "hippie communes" as suddenly having this delusional and deadly dark side. Moreover, Manson's aims in killing Tate were not all that far off from the present. He was a white supremacist, aiming to start a race war with the death of some pretty people.
One hopes Tarantino includes this part of the story in his aims. But the trailer mostly seems to focus on DiCaprio and Pitt and the story of men who may or may not have what it takes to make it in the world of westerns and action films. Fans of the actors will probably love this film, but Sharon Tate may deserve better.
Once Upon A Time In Hollywood arrives in theaters on July 26, 2019.