Once Upon a Time in Hollywood subtly setup Rick Dalton’s ending and future in the first act – here’s how. After the release of The Hateful Eight in 2015, Quentin Tarantino came back with his ninth film, titled Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, which followed the style of Inglourious Basterds and told an alternate version of history, this time set in 1960s Hollywood. The film had all of Tarantino’s trademark elements, and is considered by many critics and viewers to be one of his best works.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood followed Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his best friend and stuntman Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt), who worked together for years. As Hollywood’s golden age neared its end, Rick and Cliff struggled to remain active and relevant in the industry, and they came across with a lot of celebrities from the decade, as well as some enemies. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood acknowledged the existence of Charles Manson and his “family”, but gave their murderous plans a twist.
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Instead of going after Sharon Tate and company, the killers changed their plans and instead set out to kill Rick (and Cliff too, as he was in the house), but things didn’t go as they wanted, and Rick and Cliff defended themselves. One of Rick’s most memorable scenes is when he comes out with a flamethrower and kills the remaining Manson family member in his pool – a moment that was subtly setup early on in the film, and teased his future as well.
Once Upon A Time In Hollywood Line Setup Rick Working With Polanski
Rick Dalton was Sharon Tate and Roman Polanski’s neighbor, but he never spoke to them. While on a low moment in his career (which was taking a toll on his emotional and mental health), Rick mentioned to Cliff that Polanski had been his neighbor for a while and they had never crossed a single word, and he could “be one pool party away from starring in a Polanski movie”. By the end of the film, Rick finally met Sharon Tate and her friends, and it would be implied that he met Polanski at some point after that.
Rick met his neighbor after the whole Manson incident, as all eyes were on him, Cliff, and the house, which was a complete mess after the whole chaos. As mentioned above, Rick killed one of the Manson members in his pool with a flamethrower, and this was what prompted his meeting with Tate and company, and it’s possible that earned him a role in a Polanski film in the future. Rick indeed was one pool “party” away from starring in one of his films, though it ended up being a very twisted “party”. Whether an intentional setup or just a coincidence in the script of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is unknown, but this isn’t the only tease of this type in the film.
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