By Don Morton
April 1, 2022
A famous, hard-edged standup comic (Adam Driver, ubiquitous) and his renowned opera diva wife (Marion Cotillard, wasted) give birth to a creepy puppet-child that has an astounding singing voice. Mom dies at sea, becomes a ghost and haunts dad, who sinks ever lower into depravity, yada yada.
This was written and scored by Ron and Russell Mael, aka the art-pop group Sparks (uncharacteristically humorless here) and directed by French auteur Leos Carax. The filmmaking is ambitious and audacious, but what auteurs rarely realize is that audacity and spectacle alone are not enough. This is so concerned with being eccentric that it forgets to tell a story.
I’m probably not cerebral enough for this kind of thing. The opening number, featuring cameos by the Maels, is dynamic and engaging. But it’s all downhill from there. I made it halfway through before I realized I didn’t want to listen to Adam Driver sing (or watch him brood) anymore. Dude can act, but here he makes Kylo Ren look deep.
I did eventually finish the movie but had to do it in four or five sessions. Sorry, and you’ll find others who have nicer things to say, but this is pretentious, borderline-unwatchable drivel. (141 min)