In the grand tradition of cinematic masters the Russo Brothers, Quentin Tarantino has released a letter urging critics not to give away any Once Upon a Time in Hollywood spoilers. Tarantino’s latest is set to premiere at Cannes, and while the filmmaker has never had any public qualms with the concept of spoilers before, it looks like Once Upon a Time in Hollywood has some big twists audiences won’t see coming – and Tarantino would like to keep them secret.
First thing’s first: while the hashtag that accompanies the above image is #NoSpoilersInHollywood, Tarantino – to his credit – never uses the term “spoilers” in the letter itself. Instead, the filmmaker wants to avoid having anything revealed “that would prevent later audiences from experiencing the film in the same way.”
So what’s going on here?
Personally, I think there’s a certain tongue-in-cheek attitude to this letter. Believe it or not, Tarantino does keep up with movie news, and movie blogs, which means he’s (probably) well aware of the two letters released by the Russo Brothers ahead of Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. Letters in which the directors claimed that “Thanos demands your silence”, urging audiences to keep spoilers to a minimum. I would not be surprised if Tarantino was riffing on those letters here.
That said, what big surprises are in store for us with Once Upon a Time in Hollywood? I have a theory – one I previously wrote about on this very site. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood unfolds over the year 1969, with the Manson Family lurking in the background. Margot Robbie plays Sharon Tate, the actress who was murdered by Manson’s followers. And Manson himself appears in the movie as well, played by Damon Herriman. Historically speaking, we know what happens: Manson sends his followers out, and those followers murder Tate and her friends in a frenzy of violence. That can’t be a spoiler – it’s history.
But what if Tarantino is changing history? The filmmaker has done it before. Inglorious Basterds presented an alternate glimpse of World War II in which Hitler and virtually every high-ranking Nazi officer ended up being slaughtered in a movie theater fire. And while Django Unchained doesn’t feature real-world characters, it still plays very fast and loose with historical facts.
With all that in mind, it’s conceivable that Once Upon a Time in Hollywood flips the script, and has Sharon Tate survive the Manson Family massacre. This is all just speculation, though. Tarantino’s letter certainly hints at this theory being correct, but there’s always a chance there’s something else going on here that will catch all of us off guard.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood opens July 26, 2019.
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