I’m sorry but I’m getting the wrong kind of signals from this barely-there teaser for Brady Corbet‘s Vox Lux, a seemingly angst-ridden music-industry drama that focuses on 18 years in the life of Celeste, a gloomhead pop superstar (Natalie Portman). I don’t mean the kind of signals that suggest a possibly bad or frothy or ineffective film (I read a draft of the script a year or so ago and it wasn’t half bad), but indications that some of us may not give that much of a shit.
Making it in the music business is no small feat, and lasting, much less maintaining relevancy, in the limelight for over 15 years is even tougher, and so I vaguely resent films that suggest superstardom is mainly about having great hair and the right kind of wardrobe and expert lighting design and multitudes screaming your name.
Put another way, I vaguely resent movies about hugely popular performers that fail to convey how difficult it is to be even a competent, half-decent musician-performer (I’m saying this as a formerly mediocre drummer), much less fulfill a phenomenal potential. Geniuses don’t have to sweat the inspiration part, but they still have to work and perspire their asses off to make the song (or the novel or the film or the haute couture line) come out right. Movies always seem to ignore the creative struggle aspect.
Oh, and a Scott Walker score isn’t enough. There has to be a good, solid film to complement his input…sorry.
Corbet’s 110-minute drama, currently without distribution, will premiere soon at the Venice Film Festival. Raffey Cassidy, Jude Law, Stacy Martin and Jennifer Ehle costar.