Once Upon a Time In Hollywood
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An easy watch: it benefits greatly from Dench and Hoskins, and a fair amount of style that avoids the dreaded period-drama treatment. A nice sense of fun flows throughout, but it lacks the depth and drama to suffice as great cinema.
Deftly handles its twisting story while casting a mysteriously creepy spell over proceedings, heightened by a beautiful score. Dark themes add new depth and substance to the franchise, but more light would have been welcome.
Provides a darker, more ominous lens through which to view the wizarding world without shattering the magic. Crisp storytelling compensates for the long run-time, but admittedly, it is a little less engaging than its predecessor despite the technical excellence.
Lacks subtlety (like many Hollywood melodramas of this era), but provides a compelling exploration of tension bubbling beneath the 'normal' American family life. The insistence on a happy ending undermines authenticity a fair bit.
A punchy script and strong performances ensure all moments (whether tough, dramatic or chilling) are powerfully felt. A clear non-conformist message underscores events, fortunately unaffected by some spots of sloppy direction.