Vox Lux


Brady Corbet’s audacious 2015 directorial debut The Childhood of a Leader was a chilly portrait of a fascist dictator’s formative years. His bombastic follow up, Vox Lux, charts the unlikely rise of a millennial pop starlet named Celeste (Raffey Cassidy) before leaping forward in time to assess the psychological cost of her fame. The film is suffused with pitch-black humour – Celeste’s big break comes about as a consequence of a school massacre, while Willem Dafoe’s deadpan, Lars von Trier-esque voice-over narration holds everything together. But while these elements won’t be to everyone’s taste, a bigger stumbling block may be Natalie Portman’s performance as the embittered older Celeste, who attempts a musical comeback while staving off a nervous breakdown. It’s a far from subtle turn – think a coked-up Madonna at her most petulant and provocative. But show up expecting an unapologetically overwrought social satire rather than a nuanced character study, and you may find much to love.

Vox Lux | Directed by Brady Corbet (US 2018) with Natalie Portman, Jude Law. Starts July 25.

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