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Here's What the First People to See 'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood' Are Saying

"It's the most fun the director seems to have had in years."

by River Donaghey
23 May 2019, 7:45am

Screenshot via YouTube

This article originally appeared on VICE US.

The first reviews for Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood are in from Cannes—and people are really following the director's impassioned plea against spoilers, apparently. Just about every review teases the film's bloody twist ending in vague, mysterious terms, but there's one thing that no one is being vague about: That the movie is "brilliant" and weird in all the right ways.

As a director, Tarantino has spent his last few films prioritizing mood over plot. The third act of Django Unchained dissolved into an overlong epilogue that was fun, but never quite seemed necessary, and The Hateful Eight felt meandering even before Tarantino cut it into a four-hour miniseries for Netflix. It sounds like Once Upon a Time in Hollywood takes the trend to a whole different level, though.

Vanity Fair's review says that, at times, the film threatened to be nothing more than a "collection of shapeless set-pieces" and the Hollywood Reporter warned that the "two ambling hours of detours, recaps and diversions that precede the standard climactic explosion of graphic violence are virtually plotless." But plotless or not, both reviewers find plenty to praise in the movie—and not just the movie's completely stacked cast.

"This curious fairy tale may not be the truth, and it may prattle on too long," Vanity Fair's Richard Lawson writes, "But when its stars align, and they let loose with their unmistakable shine, Hollywood movies do seem truly special again."

"It's the most fun the director seems to have had in years," Vulture's own write-up reads. IndieWire's B-grade review was less glowing than some of the others coming out of Cannes, but even it bows to Tarantino's distinct ability to craft "homegrown universes like nobody else."

The Guardian's review sums it all up a little more bluntly:

Quite simply, I just defy anyone with red blood in their veins not to respond to the crazy bravura of Tarantino’s film-making, not to be bounced around the auditorium at the moment-by-moment enjoyment that this movie delivers – and conversely, of course, to shudder at the horror and cruelty and its hallucinatory aftermath.

And speaking of that aftermath—yes, Tarantino's "ultimate hangout movie" dovetails into a finale of brutal, climactic violence which, we can only guess, centers around the brutal Manson murders. But it sound like Tarantino might've put his own unique spin on that particular piece of history, Inglourious Basterds-style. "There’s no point in spoiling the specifics, but needless to say, the movie careens into a form of historical revisionism familiar from Tarantino’s other recent work," IndieWire writes.

We'll have to wait until the film hits theaters on July 26 to find out what, exactly that means. But in the meantime, get excited. This one is going to be good.