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Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood – Review

November 7, 2019


– To my right is Bounty Law series lead and JK Hill himself, Rick Dalton. And to my left is Rick’s
stunt double Cliff Booth. – [Jacki] “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” Quentin Tarantino’s ninth
and penultimate movie before retiring from feature films, cleverly showcases the writer/director’s encyclopedic knowledge of
cinema and pop culture, while also serving as a loving tribute to a bygone era of films and stars. Despite incorporating many elements of the filmmaker’s
signature style, dark wit, moments of explosive
violence, kitschy references, a great vintage soundtrack,
and an overall cool vibe, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”
shows a more sentimental side of the “Kill Bill” filmmaker. And yet, it also displays
many of his self-indulgences and weaknesses. It’s not Tarantino’s best work, but it’s still better
than the best efforts of other filmmakers. – We get into a fight,
I accidentally kill you. I go to jail. – Anybody accidentally
kills anybody in a fight, they go to jail. It’s called manslaughter. – Burn, you Nazi bastards! (laughter) – [Jacki] The movie
reflects the sensibilities of an older and possibly
more thoughtful filmmaker than the indie bad boy
who stormed the industry back in the 90s with “Reservoir
Dogs” and “Pulp Fiction.” There’s still an undeniable coolness exuded throughout this film. Tarantino largely focuses his story, which is primarily set over three days in Hollywood circa 1969, on
washed-up actor Rick Dalton and his best pal, former
stunt-double-turned-flunky, Cliff Booth. Rick is definitely played
with feverish desperation and crumbling vanity by Leonardo DiCaprio, while an almost
transcendentally cool Brad Pitt delivers his best performance
in years as Cliff, whose sun-kissed appearance
belies the inner darkness that’s cost him everything but the affection of his dog and Rick. Cliff is in many ways a more interesting and complex character than the narcissistic and fragile Rick, but DiCaprio and Pitt share
a breezy, boozy chemistry that makes them great
foils for one another. The rest of the film
follows actress Sharon Tate, a beauty whose star is on the rise, as Rick’s is on the decline. Portrayed here as Rick’s
next-door neighbor, Sharon Tate, of course, was a real person, whose brutal death by followers of cult leader Charles Manson has overshadowed her brief film career. Margot Robbie plays her with
a free-spirited vivacity, but the character of Tate
herself is not well-developed. She’s more a symbol of Hollywood dreams than she is a flesh-and-blood protagonist like Rick and Cliff. In the end, you’re left
wondering what Tarantino wanted to feel about them or his film, save for leaving with an appreciation for Hollywood’s yesteryear. That may be enough for
those who want to ruminate on the film industry,
but emotionally speaking, “Once Upon a Time in
Hollywood” and its characters never quite register as strongly as many of Tarantino’s other
films and protagonists. Tarantino has once again
assembled a stellar ensemble cast that includes several
veterans of his past films like Kurt Russell, and
great new additions, such as scene-stealers Mike Moh
as an egotistical Brucel Lee and Julia Butters as a
precocious child actor Rick meets on the set of
a potential comeback role. The film is as much a love letter to the Los Angeles of 1969
as it is to the films, TV shows, and pop culture
of that tumultuous era. Tarantino and his team have painstakingly recreated the greater
LA area of that period and its many landmarks. But did we really need to see every street and stretch of freeway Cliff drives along? And those unnecessarily bloated stretches only make one feel the film’s
nearly three-hour runtime all the more. The film is also chockfull of asides to Rick’s faux movies and TV shows, from his heyday as the star of
the ’50s TV show Bounty Law, to his later spaghetti
westerns, war movies, and exploitation films. These are often hilarious
and spot-on sendups that lovers of B-movies and
the Golden Age of Television will appreciate and laugh
at more than casual, and frankly, younger viewers
who lack a pop cultural context to get the references Tarantino is making. Indeed, “Once Upon a Time in
Hollywood’s” effectiveness depends in large part on one’s fondness for the bygone era Tarantino is honoring. But there are times where Tarantino veers into self-indulgence. There is another, and arguably
larger, curiosity factor for those going to see this film, and that’s the Manson family murders. His interpretation was always
going to prove divisive, and the end results most certainly will. As exploitative and jarring
the whole sequence can be, it also gives the film a jolt
in its uneven second half. While this climax never
matches the masterful building of suspense in an earlier sequence where Cliff encounters the Manson family on an old movie ranch, the home stretch reminds Tarantino fans of the edgy provocateur he started out as after sitting through two-plus hours of slow-moving industry nostalgia. – Hey, you’re Rick (beep)-ing Dalton. Don’t you forget it. (jazzy music) – [Jacki] Quentin Tarantino
doesn’t quite deliver a grand slam with his
penultimate feature film “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” a languid but interesting exploration of a particular time and place and a loving ode to the pop culture that informed his particular
sensibilities as an artist. But it also doesn’t
always land as viscerally or emotionally as it could have, and it never quite develops Sharon Tate as more than an idea. Still, the respective
performances of DiCaprio and Pitt and the film’s meticulous
attention to period detail are all great and keep you
invested in where this cruise around Tinseltown will
ultimately take you. – Line? – Cut! – [Jacki] For more movie reviews, check out what we
thought of “Batman: Hush” and “The Lion King.” And as always, be sure to
follow and subscribe to IGN wherever you like to watch. – What does IGN even mean anyway? It means whatever you want it to mean.

100 Comments

  • Reply Electricprimate July 31, 2019 at 2:18 pm

    In my opinion ion Once upon a time in Hollywood was great but it was different from Tarantino’s other movies so I can see why some people wouldn’t like it because it isn’t what they were expecting

  • Reply Kenneth Cox July 31, 2019 at 5:14 pm

    Just watched it and I thought it was awesome, home defense flame thrower is fuckin great lol

  • Reply Luke Matthew July 31, 2019 at 5:28 pm

    I agree with this score after one viewing myself. It’s in the bottom three QT films IMO

  • Reply Aaron Acuna July 31, 2019 at 9:27 pm

    Gawwwh damn you dumb af IGN 😂 obviously you don’t appreciate true original cinema, there are other movies aside from marvel and Disney

  • Reply Juaren Frausto July 31, 2019 at 9:46 pm

    7.8 is fair. Definitely not his best work. But it's entertaining.

  • Reply THE BANDIT THE BANDIT July 31, 2019 at 11:36 pm

    I agree with the. NUmber 7. This movie was mediocre

  • Reply Dutch Courage August 1, 2019 at 7:35 am

    Ign gave Madden a higher rating.

  • Reply DMS01 August 1, 2019 at 8:16 am

    You are nitpicking and your opinion is biased I win bye bye

  • Reply The Last Attempt August 1, 2019 at 5:25 pm

    IGN should stick to gaming reviews

    If they can do those right that is

  • Reply Levi Melton August 1, 2019 at 8:08 pm

    IGN – I’ll give it a 7.8
    Quinton Tarantino – iM ShUtInG yOu DoWn

  • Reply Ruven Wegner August 1, 2019 at 9:03 pm

    I don’t know the other scores scores movies got by IGN but this is fitting. The movie is mediocre.

  • Reply Marcus Villain August 1, 2019 at 9:41 pm

    IGN reviewers: 7-8 yrs of age
    Oh thats why…..

  • Reply Jack Sparrow August 2, 2019 at 12:27 am

    one of the worst movie i have everseen… .folks dont waste ur money..

  • Reply Papi Lion August 2, 2019 at 1:41 am

    This review was trash and the tone of the viewer is obnoxious. This film was incredible.

  • Reply ginger Jackson August 2, 2019 at 4:20 am

    I love the movie.

  • Reply DirtyDinner24 August 2, 2019 at 3:11 pm

    Shallowest review I’ve seen of this movie

  • Reply Iftii Alam August 2, 2019 at 9:39 pm

    Once upon a time in Hollywood shows actors who a part of outdated film genres.. but still try to work.

    IGN are an organization of people who ever never the part of the Film Critic community..but still try to act like one..

  • Reply Stephen Haines August 2, 2019 at 9:53 pm

    IGN, you're fuckin dumb…

  • Reply Droopydj1 August 3, 2019 at 1:28 am

    tbh I did'nt like it. I was bored

  • Reply Maxwell Shapiro August 3, 2019 at 2:09 am

    The film’s final act made John Wick look like freaking Sesame Street.

  • Reply A Fury August 3, 2019 at 6:16 am

    1. Pulp Fiction
    2. Inglorious Basterds
    3. Reservoir Dogs
    4. Django Unchained
    5. Planet Terror, Death Proof
    6. the rest, Hateful 8, Once Upon a Time, Kill Bill

  • Reply #godwill rise August 3, 2019 at 12:11 pm

    I just saw the flim yesterday and at this point it was real. It may take a few days to get it but it gives you a real snap shot of an actors life but more then just that, in an older man life who job it is to act, and the people around him directly or indirectly. How life just plays out and you just never know.

  • Reply Elomino Pee August 3, 2019 at 9:59 pm

    Dont care about this elaborate blabber this woman is talking about. I bet this movie is at least a 9.

  • Reply cj jernigan August 4, 2019 at 5:02 am

    3 hour movie is long. this review is also too long

  • Reply Christopher Velez August 4, 2019 at 5:29 am

    love Tarantino but this is his worst film. i was disappointed after watching it..

  • Reply David Easton August 4, 2019 at 6:37 pm

    !*!*!*!*!*!*! SPOILER ALERT (kinda…) !*!*!*!*!*!*!

    Saw it the other day; it was particularly ironic, sitting in the theatre, listening to the audience laugh away at the ending, while (I'm assuming), most (a young Taiwanese audience, in my case; but I imagine this can apply to many of the audiences that will eventually see this film) not knowing the actual history of the event that this film precludes … it's not a "happy ending", but rather the "beginning of a horror show". That feeling was interesting throughout the final 'showdown' scene, as I didn't know when or whether Brad Pitt's face was going to be blown off, or Francesca get gutted … kinda freaky queasy feelings in my stomach…

    I guess the climax could be seen as a foreshadow technique to the horrors to come.But again, without context, what then is accomplished, except the graphic act in itself? And, despite Tarantino's obligatory "style", I think if that was the objective (a foreshadow technique), it could / would have been accomplished much more subtly with even greater effect (as, in my opinion, evidenced by the Spahn Ranch scene).

    But then, it could be that Tarantino is simply providing alternative history (a parallel universe) where the Manson Family murders are in fact thwarted, by the actions of that night over at Dalton's house… ??? And it IS a "happy ending", after all.

    But if that's the case, why? We spend 3 hours waiting for his "joke" ending? That's a little self-indulgent, even for Tarantino … Why not go full-bore fantasy land, instead of such exacting detail in all other accounts of that period of TV and film specifically, and L.A. generally?

    In the end, a "story" still ought to be a "story", in any art form. I think Tarantino lost the "story" in this one somewhere along the way… maybe even from the beginning, just in order to justify his ending, which seems to have come first to his consciousness.

    (There's mention on the film's Wikipedia page of Pitt originally being cast as the investigating officer of the crimes … Wait, WHAT? So the crimes DID happen; or DIDN'T happen; or … Ah, now there's some potential evidence of Tarantino no being sure himself as he was developing the script, leading to the mess that I'm describing here!

    "and that Pitt was in talks to portray the detective investigating the murders." – Wikipedia Page)

    Beyond that, if one isn't old enough (or researched enough) into that particular time period (let alone the cultural gap I refer to regarding sitting in a theatre full of young Taiwanese of which I'm guessing the vast majority can't even relate to Sharon Tate and related murders history the ending hinges on!), then despite the craft of the acting, directing, cinematography, et al, most of the film's script (thus significant humour) would simply be a complete waste of time and effort and energy and commitment and …

    Now, (I guess ???) luckily, I did grow up watching Manix and Lancer, Steve McQueen and The Rifleman, the influence of spaghetti westerns on pop-culture, reading Kid Colt comics, etc. So I (like others of my generation) can appreciate the innumerable humorous references written into the film. But I couldn't help understanding as I sat watching this, how many people wouldn't. Again, is the film made to appease Tarantino's self-interests and indulgences? Obviously, to a great degree.

    But here may lie a valid critical argument: Make the thing and stick it in your basement then. Or show it to some buddies / peers who are going to get it, even. But is that art? Is "art" self-indulgence, or is "art" a means to communicate something to an audience? Tarantino seems to think the former is far more important than the latter. And to me, it's to a fault.

  • Reply Walter Van der Wahl August 4, 2019 at 9:09 pm

    I just saw this today and while I enjoyed it I felt it was too long and peppered with a few lackluster scenes. The cast and performances were stellar. That part can't be improved. The sets, art direction, costumes, sound track were perfection, but maybe it was the editing that fell short for me? 
    Still I recommend seeing it for any fans of Tarantino.

  • Reply Baby Bruce August 5, 2019 at 1:47 am

    I’d rather watch death proof 3 times in a row than to finish this flick. I walked out 1 1/2 hours in

  • Reply Cody English August 5, 2019 at 3:53 am

    7.8? Went over your heads. Watching it a 2nd time made it all the better.

  • Reply Santino Cadiz August 5, 2019 at 5:09 am

    Save your money, it was boring at most.

  • Reply Mufnstuf August 5, 2019 at 7:19 pm

    Totally disagree. Once Upon A Time In Hollywood is one of Tarantino's best films. I may put it right behind Pulp Fiction. This movie will be studied and discussed for decades to come, long after the generic cut & paste Marvel films are disregarded as Hollywood's 'silly superhero phase'. .

  • Reply duncan maclachlan August 6, 2019 at 10:31 am

    Best way to describe this movie is to say.
    ALL THAT ISN'T GOLD

  • Reply John Itadakiman August 6, 2019 at 12:28 pm

    Objective & spot-on review. Thank you IGN!

  • Reply Rustling Soul August 6, 2019 at 2:50 pm

    Ms. Jing, spectacular review. You really hit it on the money. What disappoints me is that while this movie is not the best in Tarantino's filmography, it still trounces many movies that IGN has given 8.5 and up. I suppose that's what happens when the skillset of a review team is so varied. I give IGN an 11/10.

  • Reply neosrt10 August 6, 2019 at 3:58 pm

    This is probably the best movie this summer it's funny ,gritty, raw and with great characters ..IGN stick to video games reviews.

  • Reply The Cool Guy August 7, 2019 at 4:00 am

    For everyone mad at this rating I must say I just got done watching the movie and I might have to agree with IGN on this one. I really dont know how to feel about this film besides saying the end is truly bizzare and it def didnt need to be as long as it is.

  • Reply Eric Chapot August 7, 2019 at 4:14 am

    Better than any filmmakers. Excuse me. Thank you Mr. Tarantino

  • Reply Jimmeh Bizzle August 7, 2019 at 11:00 pm

    Stick to video games IGN, just stick to video games

  • Reply TheDreded603 August 8, 2019 at 10:47 am

    Great review! I agree

  • Reply Abdullah Al Sayegh August 9, 2019 at 10:16 am

    I reject your hypothesis

  • Reply Abdullah Al Sayegh August 9, 2019 at 10:18 am

    IGN: An inaccurate source

  • Reply Donovan Dominguez August 9, 2019 at 9:31 pm

    Your movie review privileges should be revoked

  • Reply Bette August 11, 2019 at 7:11 pm

    terrible movie except Brad Pitts performance, I did not get it…..still have nightmares about this screaming woman at the end, who was burnt to death wtf

  • Reply Arun L0H August 12, 2019 at 2:18 pm

    So many feet

  • Reply Animated Aaron August 12, 2019 at 7:33 pm

    Wow this review is awful. Like the points it makes are straight up laughable

  • Reply Tony Jules August 13, 2019 at 10:22 pm

    Yeah….I didn't like it…..didn't like it at all.

  • Reply Faizal Azlan August 14, 2019 at 8:39 am

    7.8?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

  • Reply Jon August 14, 2019 at 10:07 am

    Things like the MCU have ruined cinema imo. People have to see action or hear a joke every 15-30 seconds now or else the movie is "slow" or "boring".
    It used to be that directors would build movies around big moments, memorable set pieces, and cool sequences. Additionally, directors would treat movies as an outgrowth of photography as the narrative was told against the backdrop of one painstakingly built scene after another.
    The MCU however set a trend of force feeding audiences payout with little to no buildup. It's not only cheapened action and humor but conditioned audiences to expect constant gratification.

    You can see the effects with reactions to "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" in how people deride the film for being boring when it's just taking its time, inviting the audience to take in the scenery. I liked the scene of Cliff driving through L.A. listening to music. I liked conversations Rick had about his career. I liked watching him act for TV. These "bloated" scenes serve a purpose. They tell us about the characters and the place and time; they set a mood. They aren't wasteful.

  • Reply Jack Osborne August 14, 2019 at 1:40 pm

    Not Marvel 0/10

  • Reply harry dellacassa August 14, 2019 at 3:28 pm

    I duno why this film looks boring to me i wana like it but I don't

  • Reply Lubaloo212 August 14, 2019 at 9:43 pm

    It doesnt matter what they rated the other movies they arnt related to the reviews. This is an honest review in my opinion

  • Reply bilio dayssimo August 14, 2019 at 11:42 pm

    Margot was the worst the part of the movie pointless empty and boring , that aside the rest is a 10/10

  • Reply mikes5637 August 15, 2019 at 5:35 pm

    Would have been a 10 from me… if not for the ending. Why does he insist on rewriting history? 7 is fair.
    Can't wait for Tarantino's version of Titanic in which the ship misses the iceberg and arrives safely in New York.

  • Reply Concerned One August 15, 2019 at 6:17 pm

    This actually is Tarantino’s best work.

  • Reply Xi Jinping August 15, 2019 at 10:30 pm

    this review was brought to you by Hall & Oates – Out of touch

  • Reply Anderson M August 16, 2019 at 12:48 am

    Boring AF. Waste of time my time. Tarantino has a foot fetish he did not need to share with the world.

  • Reply Ryan Bevin August 16, 2019 at 8:11 am

    Poor review

  • Reply Mr Ditkovich August 16, 2019 at 12:32 pm

    "did we really need to se every street and freeway cliff drives along?"

    Well, yeah cos there was dialogue happening and those scenes looked amazing

  • Reply john johnny August 16, 2019 at 9:27 pm

    Pitt and Leo are always A+ but this movie… it’s 2 hours of literally nothing happening and 15minutes of a fun end. 7.8 is pretty damn kind

  • Reply Arcqui August 17, 2019 at 12:38 am

    "Younger viewers , who lack of pop culture reference context"

    Uhhhhhhhhh……..no

  • Reply 3Vedic August 17, 2019 at 1:06 pm

    IGN pls…Just stick to reviewing games and marvel movies..no more.

  • Reply Popskiptea August 17, 2019 at 11:25 pm

    Not quite sure how you come to your final score…but I think whatever you're doing, you should probably do differently

  • Reply Bigman Gamer August 18, 2019 at 5:29 am

    Go watch a different review saved you 6 minutes of gibberish

  • Reply RustyRhydon August 18, 2019 at 6:55 pm

    Ya on drugs? Ya gave lion king an 8 this is Atleast a 9,5 if lion king is an 8

  • Reply Abel Mathew August 18, 2019 at 8:52 pm

    I'll be very honest, this movie was boring af.
    Well atleast for me.

  • Reply Jonathan Latimer August 18, 2019 at 10:44 pm

    Just because a film isn’t full of skyscraper battles doesn’t mean it’s not entertaining.

  • Reply Frank O August 19, 2019 at 9:09 am

    I really liked the movie. It felt like about 90min and was entertaining for the whole run time.

  • Reply ashdoginc August 20, 2019 at 2:02 am

    This movie is certainly not mainstream, and not for everybody. Quentin made a very subtle movie… taking joy from the smaller moments. It's about the pretentiousness and ego of Hollywood. Definitely deserved more than 7.8/10.

  • Reply Kåre Nielsen August 20, 2019 at 6:16 am

    This movie could have needed an hour more… easily 😎🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

  • Reply Jude Ralphs August 20, 2019 at 7:58 am

    This review is flat out wrong. Once upon a time in Hollywood is one of the best films I've seen. An easy 9.5.

  • Reply Ritz Kola August 20, 2019 at 6:12 pm

    Rightfully more disliked than liked

  • Reply BRONOOVIAN August 20, 2019 at 8:21 pm

    Literally my favorite movie. Not just from Quentin but ever. My favorite cast. Favorite time period.
    Reviewer must have been on something hard.

  • Reply DragonNinja3121 August 20, 2019 at 10:09 pm

    Clearly this reviewer doesn’t like non generic movies

  • Reply kermit August 21, 2019 at 12:25 am

    Why do they just play the same fking clips over and over again, it’s so annoying!🤦‍♂️

  • Reply just a mustache with an opinion August 21, 2019 at 1:53 pm

    Jesus christ your reviews are boring as hell. a 6 minute review! Wrap your reviews up ign

  • Reply Jackie Brown August 21, 2019 at 4:16 pm

    IGN has the worst reviews on anything bro I swear

  • Reply Kevin Niduaza August 22, 2019 at 5:47 am

    Naw

  • Reply johanzo88 August 23, 2019 at 2:34 pm

    Movie is boring if youre born in 00s and kind of boring if you’re born in the 90s. Probably like it if youre a 80s kid

  • Reply Ceyhun ay August 23, 2019 at 10:41 pm

    Totally agree. People who have no clue about cinema protest against this review just because it is a Tarantino movie. Performances do not always move in the up up up directions, sometimes you do a bad job and this was a bad job. Tarantino shot a movie about Hollywood simply because he loves the phenomenon. But he should have spent a lot less on it and keep the release exclusively to his friend circle.

  • Reply benblexbenblex August 24, 2019 at 1:12 am

    Bruce lee representation was a cheap injustice.

  • Reply Sophia V August 24, 2019 at 10:35 am

    The most interesting part of the movie was the part where they were filming another movie

  • Reply SPAZ August 25, 2019 at 2:34 pm

    IGN what's your channel even about?!

  • Reply Soroxas August 25, 2019 at 7:32 pm

    This is a really fair review – everyone get off your high horses.

  • Reply Ibrahim August 26, 2019 at 4:12 am

    I give it 6/10 maximum. Very long and boring

  • Reply Skender150 August 26, 2019 at 9:10 am

    Movie is garbage ! You people are afraid to say it… this review is spot on

  • Reply bloodcake August 27, 2019 at 1:58 pm

    hi, please stick to reviewing transformer … bye

  • Reply k0walsk August 27, 2019 at 10:10 pm

    Haven't seen any IGN material in a while, glad to see this well executed review. Can't say it matches my opinion (this movie was friggin excellent) but that's secondary.

  • Reply Rashik Hossain August 28, 2019 at 5:53 am

    Okay so we all agree its time to cancel IGN?

  • Reply Joseph Davidson August 31, 2019 at 7:39 am

    Did we really need to see evil hippies get brutally murdered by cool white saviors?

  • Reply WELLKNOWN DRILLA September 1, 2019 at 1:44 am

    This movie was 10/10 for me

  • Reply tafsiyah rohanah September 1, 2019 at 4:04 am

    Ign is a cook sucker guy I probably watch once upon a time in Hollywood 3 times now

  • Reply Shammo Hamid September 2, 2019 at 3:46 pm

    Lol you guys give every Disney/Marvel movie around 8-9.

  • Reply Jeremy ReoNason September 3, 2019 at 4:34 am

    This is entirely personal opinion

  • Reply Sergio September 3, 2019 at 5:24 pm

    I dont know why I came to watch a review that I dont care about lol

  • Reply InFeSs September 4, 2019 at 8:39 am

    People type this should get much more – I think this should get 6/10.
    Worst QT movie.

  • Reply 10andrico September 9, 2019 at 8:50 am

    Tarantino's worst film in my opinion…many long pointless shots of people walking, too many clips of 'old' movies, no tension (apart from a great 10mins scene at the ranch), no real
    interesting storyline….beautifully acted and filmed though.

  • Reply 10andrico September 9, 2019 at 8:50 am

    Tarantino's worst film in my opinion…many long pointless shots of people walking, too many clips of 'old' movies, no tension (apart from a great 10mins scene at the ranch), no real
    interesting storyline….beautifully acted and filmed though.

  • Reply SeNtRiCz_DevKep September 12, 2019 at 8:52 pm

    I think this was one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen 😂

  • Reply Team Of Idiots Official September 15, 2019 at 9:49 pm

    Igns whatever I want it to be… Ok trash

  • Reply Idioss L September 26, 2019 at 4:11 am

    Manson got ultimate nerf here.

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