Esther McCarthy reviews "Once Upon a Time....in Hollywood" and "GAZA"
Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood (18) ***
QUENTIN TARANTINO’S ninth movie is likely to be one of his most divisive. A detailed and sometimes indulgent love letter to the past glories of Hollywood, it never justifies its two hour, forty minute running time and its laconic, meandering style will engage some and test the patience of others.
But Leo and Brad bring it as the two leads, delivering terrific performances and making their characters great company to be in. In a movie that could have benefited from a thirty-minute trim, they are nevertheless on top form - and Tarantino throws some epic sequences into the mix.
Di Caprio is excellent as Rick Dalton, a once-feted star of a successful western TV series, trying to prove his career is still relevant in the studio lots of various projects in Los Angeles. He leans heavily on his best friend and stunt double, Cliff Booth (a delightfully laid-back Pitt), who shares his fondness for alcohol.
Rick is dismayed at the downward trajectory his career is taking, while war veteran Cliff is more at ease with his life and happy to be his star friend’s right-hand man. Still, Cliff is not a man to be crossed, and rumours that he killed his wife precede him.
Rick lives next door to recent new neighbours Roman Polanski (a filmmaker he greatly admires) and pregnant actress Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie). And their worlds collide on the night of the notorious Manson Family murders.
Set in a world of drive-ins and cars with the roofs down and sunshine, Tarantino’s film certainly evokes a sense of time and place. The shocking and very violent final half hour, when it does come, is one you’ll be talking about long after you’ve left the cinema.
GAZA (12A) ****
Co-directed by Garry Keane and Andrew McConnell, the powerful Gaza is a detailed look at life for the residents of the Gaza strip.
25 miles long and seven miles wide and home to two million Palestinians, in 2005 Israel destroyed its settlements and withdrew from Gaza. Shortly afterwards, the Islamic Resistance movement Hamas came to power in elections and have governed the strip since 2007.
Since then, Israel has imposed a blockade on Gaza, completely sealing its borders.
The documentary is told through the eyes of the people themselves, including Ahmed, a boy who dreams of being the captain of a fishing crew. The sea that proves to be both a symbol of freedom and an invisible border is also a major component of this moving and immersive documentary.