Milo Paulus’s review published on Letterboxd:
The trailers for Vox Lux excited me a great deal, but when it came out I kind of forgot about it. Yesterday I was reminded of this film again by a passionate appreciation tweet, so I decided to finally watch it, and man is this movie fantastic. I only have two quibbles with it: Great as Willem Dafoe's majestic voice is, his narration is uselessly expository and wholly unnecessary for the impact or understanding of the film. Second, the final 20 minutes are not that strong compared to the superlative rest. In the conclusion I felt there was missed opportunity.
This is a controversial movie, since the reviews for it are all over the place. Some people hate it, some people found it mediocre, and some people found it utterly brilliant. I fall in the latter camp. This film's style completely overwhelmed me, and it only supported the unbelievably good performances and the profoundly dramatic story. From cinematography, to directing, to editing, to the score and music, Vox Lux has a style to die for. It tells a story that is very much contemporary, but the way the film is put together seems to be from a different, older time.
Part alarmingly relevant satire, part disturbingly shocking thriller, part social commentary, part character study, part decade-spanning epic, and part rise-and-fall story; Vox Lux manages to capture the dark times, days of lies and thief, where everything is connected to profit and fame and glamour and everyone, either a dangerous criminal or a showy popstar where a mask hides their human side, their pain, the truth. Everyone wants to be liked, to be big, a star, the next big thing, but does not care about being human and showing love and thankfullness to others.
The result is a nerve racking, stimulating, gem of a film. It has to be one of the most overlooked films of 2018. This could be a true cult film and definitely deserves more recognition. It is incredibly electrifying and it shines in the whole extent of the word. Brady Corbet has composed an electro pop spectacle, beautifully manufactured with a tremendously original script, breathtaking performances (Portman has a haunting presence), and great cinematography while constantly navigating troubling and touchy subject matters. And despite my quibbles with it, I think Vox Lux is an instant masterpiece and an original work of art. I hope it will find its audience in the future.