• Quentin Tarantino tries to recreate the time that led up to the highly publicised murder of Sharon Tate and her friends
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, Emile Hirsch, Margaret Qualley, Timothy Olyphant, Dakota Fanning and Al Pacino
Release date: July 26
Once Upon a Time is a revisionist wishful recreation of the past, much like Tarantino’s 2009 Nazi-based film Inglorious Bastards. Tarantino tries to recreate the time that led up to the highly publicised murder of Sharon Tate and her friends by the infamous cult group, The Manson Family. However, true to his style, Tarantino makes waves with the film, especially with the ending, which is nothing like the history we know.
Set in 1969 at the turning point of the film industry in Hollywood, two aging actors Rick Dalton and his stunt double Cliff Booth find themselves on the verge of unemployment. Meanwhile, a bubbly up-and-coming actress, Sharon Tate and her famous husband Roman Polanski, move in next door to Dalton. Dalton tries to befriend the couple so he could use Polanski’s influences to return to his glorious A-list status.
Not far from there is Spahn Ranch. An extensive ranch owned by George Spahn, who leases it as a shooting location for country westerner films. However, the ranch has been taken over by Charles Manson and his followers. Mason convinced Spahn to let him and his followers stay there in return for sexual favours from the young and attractive Manson female followers.
As the film builds up Sharon Tate’s loveable personality, so does our fear of the inevitable known-conclusion increase. However, true to his style, Tarantino subverts expectations as he turns washed-up actors into heroes and turns the late Sharon Tate into a heroic emblem of ‘what would have been’.
Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio are as brilliant in their performances as they have been in their previous Tarantino films. Margot Robbie’s portrayal of Sharon Tate is nothing short of inspired. Her representation of the actress is a chance for those of us who never knew her to get to know her as the charismatic person she was. Meanwhile, those who knew her will remember her for who she was and not how she died.
Star Rating: 4 stars