There is a reason why we all get excited when we here a certain filmmaker’s name attached to a new film. Martin Scorsese, Christopher Nolan and Guillermo Dell Toro are some of the names that will have your money instantly and Quentin Tarantino is no different. His films are always a focal point once their announced and an event once their released. It is truly a gift for someone as creative as him to consistently deliver films that are great and sometimes divisive. His style is his own and I’ve loved almost every film he’s made so far. This film on the other hand I thought was really good, but it felt a bit over indulgent. There are times where storytellers fall into a trap of making a film that has all their trademarks, but leave you with nothing to grasp onto while the film is going. There are 3 stories happening at the same time and one of them is the weakest and it drags the pace down to a crawl for the best and the worst. The film does have its clever, deep and hilarious moments, but I felt some screws were a little too loose in the fine tuning process of the film.
Of course you have all the usual players return in Tarantino’s rolodex of actors. I won’t list them all, but I will focus on the standouts. Leonardo Dicaprio is amazing as the aging actor Rick Dalton who is constantly on the verger of a mid-life breakdown. There are so many showstopping moments, but I have to say the best one is the scene in his trailer. Brad Pitt plays his stuntman and loyal bestfriend Cliff Booth and the chemistry between the 2 of them is perfect. Brad has always been a superstar, but in my opinion he steals the film out from under Dicaprio in many great scenes. Margot Robbie was the perfect casting and an uncanny lookalike for Sharon Tate. Now I loved both Rick and Cliff’s arcs and Sharon’s was sweet, but she really didn’t have anything to do in the story. She would look beautiful dancing around and you’d see a great moment that all actors dream of, but that’s about it. Dakota Fanning was great and nearly unrecognizable as one of the Manson Family members, Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme. The scene between her and Cliff was full of great tension. Margaret Qualley was great as Pussycat, another member of the Manson Family. I loved the playful banter between her and Brad Pitt. Kurt Russell was great as stunt coordinator Randy and Zoe Bell was equally awesome as his wife. Damien Lewis was cool and perfect as Steve McQueen and exuded that same badass attitude even if he was only in the film for less than 10 minutes. A real standout and great scene belongs to Daniella Pick who portrays Daphna Ben-Cobo. The conversation between her and Rick Dalton was poignant and fun.
If there’s one storyteller out there that has an ear for a great soundtrack its Quentin and this film features a great soundtrack that keeps you feeling like your in the mid to late 60’s. Some of the shots in the film are gorgeous and some are a switch up from his normal style. The negatives were that I felt that the film was sitting on too many moments and not really moving the film along. I get that we are watching actors work and seeing it come to fruition, but some of it could’ve been cut. The film didn’t have to be close to 3 hours. With a few more cuts and snips, this would’ve been a tighter film. In all honesty, you could’ve cut out Sharon Tate’s story, redirected a plot line and you would’ve had a more gripping film. I have to say that the last 30 minutes of the film are outstanding and bonkers. Overall, I liked the film and it is a must see on the big screen, but this is not the masterpiece that many are touting it to be. This was a good Tarantino film, but for a man with a consistently great filmography, good is almost great.
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