Once Upon a Time in Hollywood...the novel

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood...the novel

I know he isn't without complications but I am a big fan of Tarantino as a film-maker (and screenwriter). Apart from Reservoir Dogs I've seen all his movies at the cinema within days of them opening and have already watched 'Once Upon..' three times so was excited when this novelisation from Quentin himself was announced.

First off it is a really good book. It shouldn't be a surprise that the guy can write given how much of his movies start on the page but still it was reassuring.

It is a little odd though. It is neither an adaptation of the film nor a new version of the story. It adds some really fun scenes, reworks others for no apparent reason, throws out the chronology of the film on a whim and treats the somewhat epic conclusion of the movie as an after-thought - resolved in a paragraph.

A lot of the new information concerns fleshing out stunt-man Cliff. Much of this is interesting but actually I'm not sure it benefits the character - I felt he became less interesting the more we learned whereas the stoic Pitt version was a highlight of the movie. If anything he becomes less likeable and a somewhat problematic character - though I suspect that was the point.

The extra 'Hollywood' history indulgences were enjoyable, the Manson stuff was suitably creepy, there still wasn't enough Sharon Tate but there was more and it was better and Rick emerges as both a more tragic and finally triumphant character. All-in-all it was a fun read and makes a nice companion piece to the film.