Vox Luxis a new film directed by Brady Corbet (The Childhood of a Leader) and starring Natalie Portman, Jude Law, and Raffey Cassidy. It is about a popstar who achieves success as a result of her unusual childhood. It debuted at the 2018 Venice Film Festival and has played many festivals since, gaining great reviews.
This is perhaps the most shocking movie to come out in quite a long time, and it’s brilliant. Honestly, the whole film will be a giant trauma trigger for many viewers, and as such, it very well may be inaccessible to general audiences. That being said, the movie is gloriously honest, open, and artistic.
It could easily be argued that the use of violence as a plot device is insensitive, although Corbet seems to be making a point about how modern media sensationalizes and glorifies violence, especially in real life situations. The scenes that are likely to cause controversy are also those which are the most impactful. They are absolutely horrifying.
This film truly harnesses its provocative qualities to cause the audience to feel as much disgust towards humanity as possible. The first half makes a statement against gun violence, and the second half makes a statement against mass consumerism. However, because of the way in which the movie handles it subject matter, it feels super relevant yet also ridiculously ahead of its time.
The film is very clearly divided into two halves, and the first half is more effective than the second. This is likely because the first half hooks you into the story very aggressively. It is also very possible that this hook may turn some people off of the movie, though. The second half still works extremely well, although it isn’t quite as resonant as the beginning.
The pacing is phenomenal. Once it starts going, it never stops. It is a blend of a thriller and a drama, and it surprisingly works. Even though it is nearly two hours long, it feels much shorter. The story is entertaining and compelling, and the characters are very likable and sympathetic.
The performances are great too. Natalie Portman is being campaigned in the Supporting Actress category, and while that seems to be a strategic move to avoid competition, it isn’t really the most accurate. She receives top billing and plays the protagonist for half of the film. She’s the lead. Nonetheless, she is great and brings a lot to the role.
The true highlight, though, is Raffey Cassidy. She plays the protagonist in the first half and has a supporting role in the second half. Cassidy absolutely lights up the screen, even stealing the scene from Portman once in the second half. Jude Law’s supporting turn is great too. The movie allows him more than the average mentor role would, and he runs with it.
Visually, the film is super impressive. The cinematography, production design, and editing are all breathtaking. The whole movie is shot in a way that is retro, so fans of that style will be pleased. The controversial opening scene is shot and edited in a way that it is one of the most suspenseful and intense scenes to come out of any film this year. Another impressive sequence uses multiple jump cuts to create an effect.
Of course, music plays a huge role in this movie as well. There are quite a few original songs written by Sia featured, and they are wonderful. The performance of them is great too. The melodies from these songs are used to make up the score, which is used effectively to darken the tone of the film.
Overall, Vox Lux is a truly bold and ambitious movie. It will almost certainly cause issues with most mainstream audiences, but it is an artistic and brilliant, unlike anything that has been seen before.
Vox Lux opens in theaters beginning December 7.