FILM REVIEW: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

You'd be hard-pressed to find someone who hasn't heard about Quentin Tarantino's new movie.

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood brings together two of the biggest names in the movie business for the first time in the their long, well-respected careers: Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio.

This, paired with the announcement that Australia's own Margot Robbie would be playing tragic Hollywood figure Sharon Tate, sent movie fans into a frenzy and built up a great deal of interest in the esteemed director's latest offering.

When the first reviews came out of festivals, the world heard almost universal praise for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood - it was being described as Tarantino's most mature film to date, his magnum opus.

All this together means scores of movie-watchers are heading to the cinema with very high expectations.

So will they be pleased, or bitterly disappointed?

Truth is, it's hard to say.

A great portion of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is very slow, slice-of-life kind of stuff.

The pacing is glacial as audiences become acquainted with DiCaprio's over-the-hill actor Rick Dalton and his obliging stunt double/gofer Cliff Booth in 1969 Hollywood.

What Tarantino does very successfully is recreate the time period and the mythology of the stars of the day.

Power pair: Oscar winners Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt star as Rick Dalton and Cliff Booth in Quentin Tarantino's latest film Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

Power pair: Oscar winners Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt star as Rick Dalton and Cliff Booth in Quentin Tarantino's latest film Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

There are cameo appearances from plenty of actors playing notable figures: Damian Lewis as Steve McQueen, Dreama Walker as Connie Stevens, Rachel Redleaf as Mama Cass.

The music, production design and dialogue all works together to create this dream-like ode to 1960s Hollywood.

Which would all be great if there was any sort of plot propelling this portion of the film forward.

Fans can argue that it's an exercise in character-building, while detractors can argue that this stretch does not need to take anywhere near as long.

That being said, the ending of the film is pure Tarantino - hugely violent, ridiculously over-the-top and very crowd-pleasing. But also, be prepared for surprises.

As far as performances go, everyone is at the top of their game. Robbie can best be described as magnetic, while Pitt is understated and DiCaprio lets loose.

There has been a bit of controversy about the portrayal of Bruce Lee in the film, played by Mike Moh. It's not hard to see why, as the film presents a version of Lee that seems far removed from reality.

That's probably the least problematic of the controversies that surround this film, though it's difficult to discuss the big ones because they come in the final scenes and would lead to massive spoilers.

One of the most obvious takeaways from the film is Tarantino's clear reverence for Tate.

Robbie's time on screen is practically a love letter to the actress, and the director's admiration for Tate could very well be the whole reason the film exists.

So, should you go out and see the film?

Well, if you're down to sit through a whole lot of character building for a laughably (by design) over-the-top and controversial pay-off, then sure, go see it. But if not, maybe stay at home.

Rating: 6.5/10