Two years after “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” hit theaters, Quentin Tarantino has novelized his Oscar-winning movie, calling the result a “complete rethinking” of the story. Repackaging, cynics might think. But that’s not quite right: The book is a distinct experience — rangier, sexier, bloodier. More wistful, and somewhat more oblique in meaning, it expands the film’s world even as it comments upon it.
Perhaps the biggest challenge Tarantino must tackle is that many of his prospective readers know the ending. Don’t they? The movie’s suspense comes from the anticipation of what will happen when the story catches up to Aug. 9, 1969, the night the Manson Family murdered five people in the home of actress Sharon Tate. From its earliest scenes, the film seems set to collide with this real-life tragedy, and everything, not least its extraordinary twist, relies on sustaining a suffocating sense of expectation.
For the review in full, visit The Washington Post.