Megalopolis first reactions: Francis Ford Coppola’s ‘delirious fever dream’ of a film divides audience | Hollywood - Hindustan Times
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Megalopolis first reactions: Francis Ford Coppola’s ‘delirious fever dream’ of a film divides audience

By | Written by Sugandha Rawal
May 17, 2024 12:46 PM IST

Francis Ford Coppola’s Megalopolis, which he was making for the last 40 years, premiered at the Cannes film festival, and has become a talking point.

After 40 years in making, Francis Ford Coppola's ambitious Megalopolis finally premiered at the ongoing 77th edition of Cannes Film Festival, and has taken the internet by storm and left critics buzzing. The film, described by Coppola as a "Roman epic”, is being met with a mixed response, with some appreciating the ‘wild’ attempt and some questioning the muddled vision. (Also read: Francis Ford Coppola's passion project Megalopolis to vie for Palme d'Or at Cannes)

Francis Ford Coppola‘s Megalopolis premiered at the Cannes Film Festival.
Francis Ford Coppola‘s Megalopolis premiered at the Cannes Film Festival.

Megalopolis had its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival on Thursday. It is Francis Ford’s first movie since Twixt in 2011.

Running through some first reactions

With the first reactions pouring in through reviews as well as tweets, it is clear that the early word around the film is predominantly positive, sprinkled with some lows.

According to Deadline’s Damon Wise the film is a “mad modern masterwork that reinvents the possibilities of cinema”. He said the film is “something of a mess; unruly, exaggerated and drawn to pretension like a moth to a flame”, adding that it is a “stunning achievement, the work of a master artist”.

After seeing the film, Matt Donnelly from Variety was more expressive with his thoughts. He tweeted, “Still processing #Megalopolis, but at tonight's Cannes premiere, I went to the restroom about an hour in because my brain was melting. There was a man leaning against the wall in a way that made me worried he needed a medic. He looked up at me and said, ‘It's a nightmare’.”

IndieWire called Megalopolis as the director’s “boldest and most open-hearted of his many bids to stop time before it’s too late”. It labelled the film as “Wild and Delirious Fever Dream Inspires New Hope for the Future of Movies”.

Francis Ford’s has poured a whopping $120 million of his own money into the project, which comes with VFX-heavy shoots.

Film critic Jason Gorber says the film is a “part fever dream, part excercise in indulgence”. “Not since BABYLON has such bonkers boldness been birthed, here reared without any pesky studio help. A cri de Cœur about a dying empire, the death rattle of a giant of cinema flailing, flumouxing, yet occasionally fascinating,” Jason tweeted.

The Hollywood Reporter's chief film critic David Rooney felt that the film is “windy and overstuffed, frequently baffling and way too talky”, adding, “But it’s also often amusing, playful, visually dazzling and illuminated by a touching hope for humanity".

“In the abstract, one can be somewhat glad that something like this exists and that we all get to see what it was that Coppola was cooking for decades. The trouble is, in execution, it’s a meandering “fable” (as the opening title card calls it) that plays more as a farce,” stated Collider's review from Chase Hutchinson.

New York Magazine‘s Bilge Ebiri calls “Megalopolis fevered thoughts of a precocious child, driven and dazzled and maybe a little lost in all the possibilities of the world before him”.

In fact, The Guardian's Peter Bradshaw gave the film two stars, saying it is hyperactive and lifeless. “And lumbered with some terrible acting and uninteresting, inexpensive-looking VFX work which achieves neither the texture of analogue reality nor a fully radical, digital reinvention of existence,” wrote Peter.

About Megalopolis

Megalopolis is set in a futuristic city, much like the Roman Empire, and follows an architect named Caesar, essayed by Adam Driver, who wants to rebuild New York City as a utopia, following a disaster. Alongside Driver, the film also stars Nathalie Emmanuel, Giancarlo Esposito, Shia LaBeouf, Aubrey Plaza, Laurence Fishburne, Talia Shire, and Jason Schwartzman.

Francis Ford was trying to make Megalopolis for decades. He used $120 million of his own money from his wine empire to produce the film. At the Cannes film festival, it is competing for this year’s Palme d’Or, which Coppola won twice previously for The Conversation (1974) and Apocalypse Now (1979).

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