Leonardo DiCaprio. Brad Pitt. Margot Robbie. They are part of the star-studded cast of Quentin Tarantino’s latest movie, Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood, which is out now in cinemas across India. Set in 1969 during the waning days of Hollywood’s golden age, Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood is meant to serve as “a modern fairy tale tribute” that features multiple storylines, from the viewpoint of ageing television actor Rick Dalton (DiCaprio), and his long-time friend and stunt double Cliff Booth (Pitt). Robbie plays actress Sharon Tate, who was murdered by members of the Manson Family in the same year as the film’s setting. (Wait, is that a spoiler?)
Tickets have been available in India for Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood since Sunday. Depending on where you live and the theatre you opt for, you can catch the new Tarantino movie in IMAX 2D or plain ol’ 2D. Tarantino doesn’t do 3D. Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood is rated “A” in India, which means only those aged 18 or above can go see the movie. Thankfully, CBFC has been nice enough — at least this time around — with its cuts, retaining most of the f-bombs. Weirdly enough, all vulgar slang-versions of the word buttocks have been erased. But hey, that’s much better than the treatment meted to Tarantino’s last film, The Hateful Eight, which lost portions of scenes in India owing to CBFC.
The comedy-drama Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood is the ninth film by Tarantino — best known for films such as 1994’s Pulp Fiction, and 2009’s Inglourious Basterds — with the 56-year-old writer-director continuing to fuel speculation that he might hang up his boots after the tenth movie, as he has said in the past. It might be a horror film, it might be Star Trek, or it might be both since the latter is a part of a franchise and hence doesn’t count. (Tarantino is knowing for making “originals”.) In that context, Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood feels more important since it might be one of the last films we see from Tarantino.
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And thankfully, it’s really good, per critics. (It’s also quite long, by the way, with a runtime of 2 hours and 41 minutes.) Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood has an 85 percent fresh rating and an 84 score on reviews aggregator Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic, respectively. The film has been out for a few weeks in the US, and at the time of writing, it was rated 8.4 / 10 on movie site IMDb, with over 52,000 votes.
In addition to DiCaprio, Pitt, and Robbie, the cast of Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood also includes Emile Hirsch (Into the Wild), Margaret Qualley (The Nice Guys), Timothy Olyphant (Justified), Austin Butler (Zoey 101), Dakota Fanning (I Am Sam), Bruce Dern (Nebraska), and Al Pacino. Tarantino also produced the film alongside David Heyman, and Shannon McIntosh. Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood has been filmed by Robert Richardson (Hugo), and edited by Fred Raskin (Fast Five).
Here’s the official synopsis for Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood, via Sony Pictures:
“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 recognise anymore. The ninth film from the writer-director features a large ensemble cast and multiple storylines in a tribute to the final moments of Hollywood’s golden age.”
If you’re interested in watching older Tarantino movies, only three of the previous eight — Reservoir Dogs, Inglourious Basterds, and Django Unchained — are available for streaming on Netflix. Four others — Pulp Fiction, Jackie Brown, Kill Bill: Volume 1 and 2, and The Hateful Eight — are available on DVD and Blu-ray. As for Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood, it should be available for digital download in a few months, but it will be a long while before it shows up on a streaming service, at least a year if not more.