Annette ★★★½

Leos Carax's early films are hardly devoid of loss and danger, but they use music to communicate ecstatic joy - think of the "Modern Love" scene in MAUVAIS SANG or Public Enemy getting drowned out by classical music in LES AMANTS DU PONT-NEUF. ANNETTE, his long-awaited Sparks collaboration, is a far thornier proposition. There's little joy here, and even the most playful elements have a bitter, sour edge. It makes no attempt to hide what an awful person Henry (Adam Driver), a comedian who does his best to piss off his audience (both within the film and among the spectators of ANNETTE), is. Instead of the romanticism of BOY MEETS GIRL or LES AMANTS DU PONT-NEUF, ANNETTE lays out a toxic relationship dominated by a dangerously angry man. It does not want to be likable, but Carax's direction and the cinematography are stunning. The conceit of {SPOILER} pays off when things change in a huge way for that character in the final scene.

Ben Kenigsberg has compared ANNETTE to DANCER IN THE DARK, and while I think it's a far better and much more honest film, I see what he means. Personally, it made me think of follies from the tail end of New Hollywood like NEW YORK, NEW YORK, 1941 & ONE FROM THE HEART. For the first time since LES AMANTS DU PONT-NEUF, Carax has the budget to work on that scale. Once it premieres on Amazon Prime, The Discourse may be dominated by angry Adam Driver stans.

Block or Report

Steve Erickson liked these reviews