“Vox Lux” isn’t a musical, but it certainly is musical. Brady Corbet’s pop-star drama stars Natalie Portman as a singer who’s been compared to everyone from Lady Gaga to Kanye West, though the actual score comes courtesy of Scott Walker (who also worked on Corbet’s “The Childhood of a Leader”) with original songs by Sia. Like the film itself, their collaboration is a memorable mix of catchy beats and dissonant tones — and can now be streamed on Spotify. Listen below.
The film begins with a Columbine-esque school shooting set in 1999, which Celeste (played by Raffey Cassidy as a child and Portman as an adult) survives despite suffering life-threatening injuries. She writes a song about her experience, launching an unexpected career that makes her a global superstar — so much so, in fact, that terrorists eventually carry out a shooting of their own while donning masks made famous by one of her music videos.
In my Venice Film Festival review, I wrote that “’Vox Lux’ doesn’t find any grand truths in its exploration of the nexus between pop superstardom and terrorism — how the one might inspire the other, how violence on a grand scale might be another way to get one’s name in lights — but that feels less like a failing and more like a reflection of its heroine’s fractured state of mind.”
“Vox Lux” arrived in theaters on December 7 courtesy of Neon. It made $155,714 in six theaters during its opening weekend and will expand wider in the weeks to come.