Vox Lux ★★★½

VOX LUX is an ambitious pop epos which has a lot to say, but struggles with the execution of the interesting elements it consists of.

In fact, I had been anticipating this film for a long time. It received almost no release window in Germany at all, and wasn't available on VOD for over a year until it was finally shown on television today, so I caught the opportunity to watch it after all. In some ways, VOX LUX exceeded my expectations, even though I have to admit that it frustrated and annoyed in even more ways. The structural choices by Brady Corbet are interesting, but take the momentum out of the film's powerful single acts. I also found the unconventional, but ultimately soulless narration by Willem Dafoe to be rather annoying, as much as it pains me to say so.

The film succeeds in terms of its performances. Raffey Cassidy and Stacy Martin are good, but Natalie Portman is the real standout. Even though her screentime is limited to the last section of the film, she owns her role and completely transforms herself into the character she is playing. Some of the directorial choices really convinced me, and the magnitude and scale of the story kept me invested throughout the entire runtime, but I cannot pretend that I wouldn't understand the frustration and disappointment many expressed after viewing the film. Corbet makes some unusual decisions and thus turns this into a full-blown arthouse film which experiments with structure and narration in many ways. VOX LUX is very challenging. If you're prepared to invest yourself into the experience, it can even be rewarding, but the film will nevertheless be limited to a very specific audience niche.

I'm still unsure about how exactly I feel about this film, but I feel like it will haunt me and turn out to be an unforgettable film for me. It's bold and daring, and that's exactly what I find to be lacking with so many films, so I can only appreciate the directorial vision Brady Corbet translated onto the screen here.

2018 Ranked
Neon Ranked

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