Annette ★★★★

Leos Carax is like the guy with the glass eye manning a carnival rollercoaster that gives you a cocked eyebrow right before you get on. Perhaps lacking the ingeniously schizophrenic bombast of Holy Motors, Annette scampers along with its own unique brand of manic, unpredictable energy. After a rousing opener which breaks the wall between artist and audience, the formal experimentation to follow is a mixed bag, soaring on the choral chimes of Sparks one moment and sputtering on an empty tank of imagery the next. At its best, the effect is dreamy and spellbinding, a spastic assortment of performance art, celebrity worship, tabloid frenzy, Natalie Wood-esque murder and symbolic puppet children that look like the love child of Chucky and Gollum. There’s even a splash of #metoo because why not. At its worst, you’ll crave the thrill of sitting in traffic on the 405 while the Hollywood Hills are on fire.

At the vanguard of this wild ride is the lilting grace of Marian Cotillard and the imposing bullishness of Adam Driver, two more than capable actors ready to indulge and embellish even the most ludicrous of flourishes in Carax’s mise-en-scene. The drones airdropping the eponymous diva baby onto a glowing obelisk for a Super Bowl-ish halftime show is a standout scene, not just of this year but possibly any fucking year. I mean, what even is that? Don’t sleep on the strangely tender finale, too. An effort as audacious and untamed as Annette will rightfully earn its fair share of detractors, who will put forth arguments I may have a hard time even countering, but given a choice between the average meh content feces sprayed all over our viewing platforms and something as risky as this, tear me off a ticket for that rickety death trap sir.

Check back in next week after I’ve launched a Go Fund Me to get Annette a playdate with Ada from Lamb. All we need is a lot of CGI and an open mind. It could happen.

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