This is sadly now my least favorite of Leos Carax’s work — Annette is basically the La La Land (2016) of his career with its cut and dry Hollywood story enriched nonetheless by the intense effort behind its visual presentation and ironically yeah it happens to be a musical as well — not to say though it’s necessarily a misfire.
Written entirely by the Spark Brothers, this is a cynical, unfiltered reflection of the celebrity mindset with its eternal blabbering of voices and thoughts faced in a universe of the main character’s mental competition for fame. I found there to be a lick of Pierrort le Fou (1965) to its diabolical romantic structure, with Adam Driver as the lead of said tragedy essentially playing Bo Burnham’s long-lost evil brother, and I can’t lie when I say that his intoxicating performance pretty much saved the movie for me. There’s some resourceful editing decisions nonetheless used here and there to compliment the outgoing music, with a lot of the songs mocking actions through repetition in classic Sparks tradition. From this to the intentionally stock-audience audio effects, Carax and the band’s attempts at making us awkwardly laugh at the obvious seems to reveal a sad reality in disguise with its theatrical explosions of sarcasm. So yes, the “celebrity vs. the crowd” war buried under cancel culture, exploitation, etc. is certainly there and amplified to the max, but Carax gives us a VERY bare bones dramatization of that downfall of the flawed celebrity family lifestyle we sometimes see in media, which to me is way below the brainpower of his past work. It is, however as mentioned before, executed so much more enticingly than its story really deserves with Carax’s usual fever-dream visual and audible surrealism, this time around conveying the merciless state of how fragile the few chances we get in life are.
Anyhow, please just let Adam Driver officially join Sparks at this point if this movie proved anything.
“Annette” is now playing in select theaters and will be available to stream on Amazon Prime August 20th.