Read this review here of the new Tarantino flick ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD. Read it a second time if you like. Now I ask you, honestly, did this guy tell you or me anything concerning the quality of the movie? Or did he spend a lot of time and words explaining to us why he didn’t like it and why we *shouldn’t* like it? I’d have to say the latter. I know that Tarantino has come under scrutiny in the wake of the #metoo movement. But—again, let us be honest—would any of this reviewer’s concerns have even been concerns before it? His chief gripe seems to be that the “heroes” of the story are not heroic. He takes particular issue with the way they treat women. Let me be crystal clear, here: he is absolutely right that we should not and must not in any way condone, excuse, or aggrandize the mistreatment of women. Ab-so-lute-ly right. But when the woman in question is a *serial murderer* who is trying very hard to murder *you* it’s hardly the same thing, now is it? Is any man so “woke” that he’s gonna stand there and let himself be murdered? And are the characters in this film *supposed* to be nothing but good or heroic? Are *most* of Tarantino’s characters good or heroic? Has Tarantino ever given us a Boy Scout? And why would we want him to? It’s not realistic, it’s clichéd, and it’s boring.
Let’s go back all the way to FROM DUSK TILL DAWN. Weren’t the “heroes” in that movie criminals? Didn’t Tarantino, as one of those protagonists, play a rapist and murderer? Characters in Tarantino movies are just that, characters. Rarely are they purely heroic, like Django. More often they are like the guys from RESERVOIR DOGS. Should we chastise ourselves for watching movies when the characters are not necessarily good people yet remain complex, well-developed characters? It doesn’t mean excusing or accepting inappropriate behavior in real life.
I submit that this guy’s review has far more to do with the current climate in Hollywood and his own politics than with the quality of ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD as a film. And when your job is to review films as individual works of art, do you not need to leave your politics out of it? If you can’t be objective—and this guy obviously, perhaps even embarrassingly, cannot—stay at home. Leave the axe for grinding in the toolshed. Let somebody else do the job.