Ode to a bygone era | Daily News
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Ode to a bygone era

Hollywood’s sheer magic is incredibly unfolded once again with Quentin Tarantino’s newest film, ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’ that is set in the backdrop of golden era of Hollywood, the late 1960s.

The film swiftly takes like-minded filmgoers down the memory lane within 161 minutes like a time machine. Director Tarantino is known for making films of a different genre that involves fun plus graphic violence and this film is no exception. The film is nothing like ‘Once Upon A Time in the West’ that starred Chares Bronson.

Famed movie actor Kurt Russell who also stars in the film has helped Tarantino by narrating to get the flavour of 60s magic right with his own experiences with film idols of the era as a child actor.

Tarantino (56) has magically brought to life his childhood memories of an era when actors habitually smoked cigarettes and drove vintage cars. In that period Black Barts and Bronco Busters marveled on black and white TV and in handy comic books as gun slinging cowboys.

The movie features Leonardo DiCaprio as a cowboy actor on 1950s TV series Bounty Law who is in transition period of an era and Brad Pitt (of ‘Inglorious Bastards’ fame) as the actor’s stunt double who is more than a friend and less than a wife to the former.

Less special effect were used in films in the time thus lead actors depended on their stunt doubles to do life risking stunts for them, which naturally made them great partners.

The 1950s TV series Bounty Law in the film depicting DiCaprio (Rick Dalton) as a cowboy brings to our memory films like Gunfight at the O.k. Corral or Django.

Rick Dalton an actor in the end of an era fears his career is over in 1969. Dejection increases his boozing and smoking and he desperately tries his luck in Spaghetti Westerns.

Al Pacino appears in the film as an agent who advises Rick Dalton to act in Spaghetti Westerns.

The film also breathes life to people like late Sharon Tate, Bruce Lee (Kato in Green Hornet), Charles Manson and Roman Polanski. Bruce Lee is played by Mike Moh. However Lee in the film is depicted as a big mouthed martial artist who gets beaten up by a stunt double (Brad Pitt) in the sets of Green Hornet. Bruce Lee fans definitely would not like to see their hero getting busted in this manner. After all it is the uncanny style of Tarantino as a director. He always is inclined to demonstrate the unexpected.

Yet the words uttered by Kato (Bruce Lee) in the film on Cassius Clay and Sonny Liston are interesting and philosophic. (Real words uttered by Lee..?)

The storyline has a mix of fiction as well as real life incidents that happened in the era. The story involves the Manson family that was a dessert community and hippy cult that was active in late 1960s.

Tarantino in the film however depicts Manson hippies that come to murder Sharon Tate and Roman Polanski (they were killed by Manson hippies in real life) as sitting ducks for the duo Rick Dalton and Cliff Booth who destroy them brutally without mercy.

Hippy culture of the time is portrayed in the film via Manson family credibly.

The teenage hippy girl named Pussycat utters some noteworthy words to Cliff Booth while he drives her home. She says, “While you guys kill phony villains in films as cowboys….thousands of soldiers die in Vietnam”.

The film brings out shoulder rubbing acting by DiCaprio and Brad Pitt. Yet someone would wonder at the end, whether the real cowboy was the actor or his stunt double.

This mature movie is a must for the ageing population of filmgoers who loved listening to radio, playing outdoors and reading the Daily News in every morning.


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