SPOILER ALERT: Some key plot points from Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” will be revealed, so those who have yet to see the film can consider themselves warned.
Boots Riley has been known to speak his mind, and the director of critically acclaimed sci-fi comedy “Sorry to Bother You” is taking aim at Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” for failing to depict one particular aspect of Charles Manson’s followers.
In the film, stuntman Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) picks up a hippie hitchhiker named Pussycat (Margaret Qualley), which leads him to encounter Manson’s followers living in a commune on the Spahn Movie Ranch, a famed location for TV and movie westerns, owned by dairy farmer George Spahn (played in the film by Bruce Dern).
In a subsequent scene, a few of Manson’s acolytes are on their way to murder Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie) at her home when they’re accosted by her neighbour, margarita-swilling TV star Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio), who chews them out for their car’s noisy muffler.
Recognizing Dalton from his hit TV series “Bounty Law”, Manson’s followers have an impromptu change of plans, declaring that all the fake murders they witnessed on television is deserving of punishment.
“My idea is to kill the people who taught us to kill,” says one Manson follower as they decide to target Dalton instead, a diversion from reality that sets the film’s grand finale in motion.
However, Riley points out that Tarantino is glossing over a key element of Manson’s twisted philosophy: he and his followers were white supremacists, and their murder spree was intended to spark a black-vs.-white race war.
“The Manson Family were overt white supremacists who tried to start a race war with the goal of killing black folks,” Riley tweeted. “They weren’t ‘hippies’ spouting left critiques of media. They were rightwingers. This fact flips Tarantino’s allegory on its head.”
Tarantino has yet to respond to Riley’s claims.