This article contains minor spoilers for Once Upon A Time In Hollywood.
Can you believe Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt have never starred in a movie together before Once Upon A Time In Hollywood?
That hits, right?
The first time you see them in a frame together (which is pretty early on in the movie), you wonder why no filmmaker thought of doing this before! Post that, you just spend 2 hours and 45 minutes trying to process their individual and collective brilliance.
There are many reasons why you should watch Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, but if nothing interests you enough, just watch it for these two.
Set in 1969 Hollywood, the movie is Quentin Tarantino's fictionalisation of the infamous murdering of 5 people by Charles Mansion. It's an ode to the old-school cinema. It's a thriller filled with classic Tarantino violence. It's a movie about an artist's insecurities. It's a movie about friendship.
Those descriptions seem odd, almost impossible to stitch together; but there are very few things in cinema that Leo and Brad can't achieve with their genius. You can definitely count this one out from the list.
In the movie, Leo plays the character of Rick Dalton, a television star while Brad Pitt is Cliff Booth, his stunt double.
That's a metaphor for their merging identities. In dangerous situations, Cliff becomes Rick. That's what he does for a living.
Their personal lives become an extension of that as he helps him overcome smallest of inconveniences and biggest of threats. Cliff encourages Rick, tells him to believe in himself and fixes his antenna while he is shooting. In turn, Rick makes sure his friend has a steady income and places blind faith in him.
Cliff is almost devotional, Rick is painfully trusting - and there is not a beat Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio miss while portraying those sentiments on screen.
There were instances in the movie when I was laughing out of nervousness, and it wasn't because of big twists. It was because of the delay (for lack of a better term). It was because of the slow approach of nothingness.
A close parallel would be EDM. You know the feeling of minor anxiousness right before the beat drops? Once Upon A Time In Hollywood was almost 3 hours of just that feeling.
That's obviously Tarantino's genius but you need actors to pull off that kind of thing, and safe to say 'pulled off' is an understatement for what these two have done in the movie.
Whenever they share the screen, the entire hall lights up. The kind of artists they are, even one of them is enough to engage the audience, so when their forces combine, it is almost unreal. They compliment each other beautifully and pick up the nuances of complicated, endearing, broken and twisted characters with enviable ease. They do it as a team.