Vox Lux

Vox Lux ★★★★

"They wanted a show... I gave them a show."

This is one of the biggest cinematic surprises of the year. In comparison to the mawkish A Star is Born, this is a brutal, painfully honest look at celebrity culture, pop music, and the ways the media affects us. You wouldn't suspect that terrorism and pop stars go together, but Vox Lux draws a very frightening parallel between them by emphasizing sensationalism and intent. As long as people are watching, both parties have the power to continue their work, and that's a deeply harrowing, frightening implication. The film never once tells you how to feel about the anxious, uncomfortable things it puts up on the screen. Instead, it challenges you to make conclusions yourself, no matter how uncomfortable they make you feel. Natalie Portman is electric, in a performance that goes for broke and largely succeeds because of how committed she is. Jude Law gives a muscular, understated performance that deserves more attention. And having Sia write and produce the music is an inspired choice.

The more I think about this one, the more I fall in love with it. I'm being conservative for the moment, but I can see myself uprating this with any future watches. Don't miss this. One of the year's best.

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