The Indiependent’s Top Films of the Decade: Tommy Farrell

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Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood has everything you would expect from a Quentin Tarantino film: fetishistic depictions of violence, snappy (pop-culture laden) dialogue, a touch of sadism and the masterful merging of the high and the low that Tarantino has built his exhilarating, frequently boundary-pushing career around. Throw in his masterful deployment of postmodern pastiche and intelligent use of fading movie stars and you have a film very much in keeping with the carefully constructed Tarantino brand.

However, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood also has many things you wouldn’t expect from a Quentin Tarantino film, in particular, a certain warmth and sentimentality that you would be hard-pressed to find anywhere else in his now vast and varied oeuvre. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is at its heart a love letter to Golden Age Hollywood, Tarantino’s ode to an era that he is clearly fascinated by. The alternative history the end of the film creates betrays a kind of wistfulness and nostalgia that doesn’t appear in the likes of Hateful Eight and Django Unchained; it’s this very hopefulness which makes OUATIH such joyous, rewarding viewing. Pair this with a committed, vulnerable performance from Leonardo DiCaprio and an all-time movie star turn from Brad Pitt and you have one of this decade’s masterpieces. Let’s hope Tarantino never stops making movies.

Words by Tommy Farrell

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