The Movie Critic: Release date, cast, plot for Tarantino's final movie
The movie maestro cues up his final frame…
Quentin Tarantino is currently at work on his next film, The Movie Critic, and if he’s to be believed, it will be his last as a feature director.
In recent years, the Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill director has made no secret of the fact that he plans to retire from movie making after he reaches 10 movies or turns 60. With 2019’s Once Upon A Time In Hollywood constituting his ninth film and with his big 6-0 birthday having come and gone in late March, the reveal that his next movie was currently in pre-production certainly seemed well-timed.
Read more: Why is Tarantino retiring?
With these factors in mind, we now find ourselves with what could be Tarantino’s final feature film on the way — but what will it be about? While its release date is still firmly on the horizon, here’s everything we know so far about The Movie Critic.
The Movie Critic release date
With the film yet to enter production, an official release date for Tarantino’s The Movie Critic is not yet known.
However, if the filmmaker’s previous release plans are any indication as to what we can expect for his last picture, perhaps we will see The Movie Critic at Cannes Film Festival in 2024 or debut later in the year.
Sony Pictures distributed Tarantino's previous film Once Upon A Time... In Hollywood, but which studio will handle The Movie Critic remains unknown, and it is likely to be the centre of a fierce bidding war in Tinseltown.
The Movie Critic cast
When Kael was the supposed focus of Tarantino’s The Movie Critic, many assumed that Academy Award winner Cate Blanchett would inherit the role, fresh from her fiery critically acclaimed performance in Tár.
With Kael dismissed as the film’s subject, it’s currently unclear whether Blanchett will appear in Tarantino’s final film — but the rumour is still going strong. Other names associated with the movie include Once Upon a Time in Hollywood star Margot Robbie.
Following comments made to Deadline at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival, Tarantino shed some new light on his casting process for The Movie Critic, revealing that his new lead would be male, in their mid-30's and someone he hasn't worked with before.
“I haven’t decided yet but it’s going to be somebody in the 35 year-old ball park. It’ll definitely be a new leading man for me. I do have an idea of somebody I can imagine doing it really well."
He also ruled out casting any non-American stars.
"No. The truth of the matter is, yes, obviously, a Brit could pull it off, but I don’t want to cast a Brit. Obviously, nothing against the Brits, but we’re living in a really weird time now. I think when people look back on this era of cinema and it’s just all these British actors pretending to be Americans and all these Australian actors pretending to be Americans, it’s like phantoms. Nobody is acting in their own voice.
Read more on Deadline: Quentin Tarantino’s new movie may be a parting shot to a fading species (3 min read)
“We just happen to be in an era of really, really good British actors who for the most part can pull it off. By the way, I’m not being xenophobic. The Brits would have a hell of a lot more problems if a bunch of American actors came over there with their Dick Van Dyke [Mary Poppins] accents playing famous Brits. They don’t want to see that s—t.”
As it stands though, we still don't know who will be starring in the movie and we currently have to take each of these casting rumours with a pinch of salt.
Of course, like any auteur, Tarantino has a batch of actors that he likes to work with — including Samuel L. Jackson, Leo DiCaprio, Uma Thurman, Brad Pitt, Tim Roth and many others.
What is the plot for Quentin Tarantino’s The Movie Critic?
As it stands, plot details for The Movie Critic are still largely under wraps. After the film was confirmed in March 2023, its official log-line suggested that it would be set in the late 1970s with a female lead at its centre.
While this wasn’t much to go off, many quickly hypothesised that Tarantino’s final movie would follow Pauline Kael, a film critic who worked for The New Yorker between 1968 and 1991.
Kael was a prominent voice in the world of film journalism who cultivated a fierce career that spawned enemies and eventually a consultancy job at Paramount Pictures upon the recommendation of actor Warren Beatty. Tarantino has professed his adoration for Kael’s work in interviews and throughout his recent non-fiction book Cinema Speculation.
However, just as quickly as these rumours started they were squashed by Tarantino during an in-conversation event at Paris’s Grand Rex Theater in early 2023. It was during this event that he revealed that while his final film will take place in 1977, it will not involve Kael. He later revealed that his star would be male.
Shedding more light on the character during an interview at Cannes 2023, Tarantino explained that his critic would write for a sleazy porno rag with a writing style that didn't hold back.
He explained that the character “is based on a guy who really lived, but was never really famous, and he used to write movie reviews for a porno rag."
Revealing that The Movie Critic was entering pre-production, Tarantino added: “I think he was a very good critic. He was as cynical as hell. His reviews were a cross between early Howard Stern and what Travis Bickle [Robert DeNiro’s character in Taxi Driver] might be if he were a film critic.”
Characters aside, the year Tarantino has chosen to frame his final movie outing is far from insignificant.
It was during 1977 when audiences first glimpsed George Lucas’s Star Wars and Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind as the modern movie blockbuster was starting to take shape.
This is also a key period during which a new batch of auteur filmmakers, many of whom were birthed from Francis Ford Coppola and Lucas’s indie film company American Zeotrope, came to the forefront of pop-culture.
By the end of the next decade, names like Martin Scorsese, Spielberg and both Coppola and Lucas themselves had become giants of cinema.
Is Quentin Tarantino retiring?
That certainly seems to be his plan. Over the years, numerous interviews have cited the director as being overly keen on leaving audiences wanting more and to retire before his movies start to feel out of date.
Speaking to Playboy in 2012 as per Entertainment Weekly, he teased: “Directors don’t get better as they get older. Usually, the worst films in their filmography are those last four at the end. I am all about my filmography.
"I don’t want that bad, out-of-touch comedy in my filmography, the movie that makes people think, ‘Oh man, he still thinks it’s 20 years ago. When directors get out of date, it’s not pretty.”
Read more on The Hollywood Reporter: Quentin Tarantino’s final film is coming (3 min read)
A similar mindset was captured during a conversation with CNN, where Tarantino explained: "I’ve been doing it for 30 years, and it’s, it’s time to wrap up the show.
“Like I said I’m an entertainer. I want to leave you wanting more you know, and not just work and I don’t want to work to diminishing returns.
"I don’t want to become this old man who’s out of touch, when already I’m feeling a bit like an old man out of touch when it comes to the current movies that are out right now. And that’s what happens.”
These quotes fuelled rumours about what his final movie could be. A Star Trek adventure swiftly emerged as one out-there possibility before giving way to the news that The Movie Critic would be Tarantino’s tenth and final movie.
Confirmed in early 2023, Tarantino is said to have already finished the script, with shooting for The Movie Critic due to take place later this year.
However, just to keep audiences on their toes, Tarantino also revealed that he currently has a 10-episode mini-series written and ready to go. So while The Movie Critic may be his final outing on a movie set, the possibility remains that we may see his work on the small screen in the coming years.
During a chat at Cannes Film Festival 2023, Tarantino doubled down on his promise to pack in filmmaking after The Movie Critic, saying he was "ending the filmography."
Having said that, he didn't rule out directing other types of content like TV, short films or plays.
The Movie Critic will likely be released in 2024.