Once Upon a Time in Hollywood a tame Tarantino ode to the past

Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio star in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
Updated 14 August 2019

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood a tame Tarantino ode to the past

  • Premiering at the Cannes Film Festival this year, the movie lays out a canvas of what Los Angeles and its most sparkling icon, Hollywood
  • The movie only casually refers to the horrific murder of Roman Polanski's heavily pregnant wife, Sharon Tate

CHENNAI: “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” despite all the pre-release hullabaloo it created, is a far cry from Quentin Tarantino's best. It is certainly not in the league of his early films, “Reservoir Dogs” or “Kill Bill,” and far less impressive than what I consider his best, the fantasy drama, “Inglourious Basterds.”

Premiering at the Cannes Film Festival this year, the movie lays out a canvas of what Los Angeles and its most sparkling icon, Hollywood, were like in the late 1960s, years when Tarantino was growing up. In a skimpy plotline about an actor who does Westerns, the film's most exciting moments arrive when we meet the Manson Family at its run-down ranch.

The movie only casually refers to the horrific murder of Roman Polanski's heavily pregnant wife, Sharon Tate (an actress and model herself), by the Manson cult in 1969. But it has mostly to do with actor Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio in an exceptional piece of acting), whose days as a dashing Western cowboy are over, and feeling like an outcast, he begins to lean closer toward his stunt double, Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt with his easy “Ocean's 11” swagger). 

A large part of the thrill in their otherwise being-kicked-around-Hollywood life comes from their neighbour, Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie). Many works have made a spectacle of the fate that befell Tate, but Tarantino avoids walking the same path.

Instead, he offers a lighter, brighter picture of LA in the days gone by, recreating Hollywood from that era before the end of the studio system. We can sense wistful nostalgia, even unabashed longing, but it’s breezy enough not to dampen our spirits.

“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” has a rather tame climax. The work could disappoint some who may have anticipated something very different. 


Iraq Pavilion at Venice Biennale shuts in solidarity with protesters

The Iraq Pavilion at the Venice Biennale has shut down in solidarity with protesters. Supplied
Updated 13 November 2019

Iraq Pavilion at Venice Biennale shuts in solidarity with protesters

  • In a show of solidarity with anti-government protestors, the Iraq Pavilion at the Venice Biennale has shut down
  • Initially set to run until Nov. 24, the exhibition entitled “Fatherland” was closed on Nov. 5.

DUBAI: Iraq is currently in the midst of ongoing anti-government protests that have claimed the lives of more than 260 Iraqis since they erupted earlier this month. In a show of solidarity, the Iraq Pavilion at the Venice Biennale has shut down.

Initially set to run until Nov. 24, the exhibition entitled “Fatherland” was closed on Nov. 5.

“Fatherland” is a collection of expressionist paintings by Iraqi-Kurdish artist Serwan Baran that were commissioned by Baghdad-based non-profit organization the Ruya Foundation, which in an official statement shared that the move was to show support to “the popular youth uprisings that have erupted in Iraq against state corruption and deteriorating economic and living conditions.”

“We condemn the use of violence against peaceful protesting, and the bloodshed that has led to the death of over 265 protesters so far,” read the statement shared on the organization’s Twitter account. “Peaceful protesting is a basic right, enshrined in Article 38.c of the Iraqi Constitution.”

“Since our founding in late 2012, we have worked hard, frequently in inhospitable circumstances, to create a platform for artists across Iraq to freely express their creativity, in a firm belief that culture is an integral component of any society, and a powerful force for change towards an open and free country. This is particularly important for Iraq, given its difficult recent history and authoritarian past,” it continued.

The Baghdad-based foundation, which was co-founded by Tamara Chalabi, daughter of former Iraqi politician Ahmed Chalabi, has overseen the Iraq Pavilion in Venice since 2013.