Sarina Bellissimo reviews "Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile" and "Vox Lux"
Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile
Zac Efron stars as Ted Bundy in the film with the longest and not easiest title to remember, Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile.
While it is about Ted Bundy, this is really his girlfriend’s, Elizabeth Kloepfer (Lily Collins), story. How she came to love this man, be oblivious to his evil ways and how she dealt with the truth.
Thanks to the Netflix documentary, ‘Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes’
there is a renewed interest in serial killer Ted Bundy. Both the documentary and this film were directed by Joe Berenger. There’s no denying he knows every detail connected with Bundy but therein lies one of the problems of this film. There is a lot of presumed knowledge assumed and even though many people know Bundy’s story it is still jarring when there is no explanation at how quickly Bundy goes from loving boyfriend to crazed, vile, serial killer.
That said, one thing that cannot be faulted is the acting in this film. Lily Collins and Zac Efron lead an outstanding cast which include The Big Bang Theory’s Jim Parson, John Malkovich, Kaya Scodelario and Hayley Joel Osment.
However, the stand outs are Zac Efron and Lily Collins. This film feels like their showreel that nails them the bigger, more serious, roles - especially for Efron, who many people keep seeing as a pin up. This role allows him to show he is a big player in the acting game and he is here to stay.
While this film is flawed, it is still an interesting watch – even if for the performances alone. In an interesting move, Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile, is available in cinemas and on Sky Movies now.
After a terrifying, violent tragedy, teenage sisters Celeste (Raffey Cassidy) and Eleanor (Stacy Martin) turn to music to get them through it. Celeste is catapulted into stardom after she performs a song at a memorial service and it becomes a hit. The film fast forwards 18 years, to 2017, where we meet 31 year old Celeste (Natalie Portman) and we see the affect that living in the spotlight has had on her and her family.
Honestly, I am not sure what to make of this film. Long after the credits ended, I am still thinking about it, and whether or not I enjoyed it. There is no doubting that it is a commentary on the allures and pitfalls of fame, however, I am still unsure about the execution of the commentary.
Vox Lux has been compared by many to A Star is Born. Yes, there are commonalities with the films. Celeste and Ally are both young women who are aspiring to make it in the pop world and we see the reality that comes with that; fame can be alluring but what it actually brings with it isn’t always great. However, that is as far as the similarities go.
It feels more like writer/director, Brady Corbet, is trying to get Natalie Portman to do to the music world, what she did to the ballet world in Black Swan. Vox Lux is not as dark as unsettling and dark as Black Swan, but it does go to some uncomfortable places and it’s not always tied up perfectly.
Portman continues to show us what a chameleon she is. Like in every other role, she fully embodies the character and you can feel every emotion she is feeling.
The supporting cast hold their own. Raffey Cassidy is outstanding as the teenage Celeste. While, Jude Law, who is Celeste’s manager is a bit jarring but in saying that, he plays it perfectly because he is an uncomfortable character of sorts.
While this film is paced quite well, the concert sequence lets it down. The length of it feels rather self indulgent. It goes into Bohemian Rhapsody territory, in that all of a sudden it turns into a concert film, however it is not as enjoyable or as satisfying as that. Portman is great but the passion you felt in Bohemian Rhapsody is missing and it tends to drag – a few songs could have/should have been cut.
Vox Lux isn’t one for everyone but it is worth the watch as a piece of art.