Craig Gillespie
Emma Stone, Emma Thompson, Joel Fry
"A Villainous Vogue: The Stylish Rebellion of `Cruella`"

Posted Monday, Nov 27, 2023 117

Disney`s `Cruella`, directed by Craig Gillespie, unfolds the origin story of one of its most notorious villains, Cruella de Vil, set against the punk-rock backdrop of 1970s London. The film follows the ambitious and creatively inclined Estella (Emma Stone), an aspiring fashion designer whose flair for flair and a series of personal tragedies transform her into the revenge-seeking, fashion-forward Cruella. Her climb to infamy finds her crossing paths and seam-rippers with the Baroness (Emma Thompson), a couture icon with a dark secret.

The film traverses themes of identity, ambition, and societal acceptance, all wrapped in a veneer of bold style and flamboyant presentation. Angular and sharp, the tone of `Cruella` is fittingly anti-establishment, embracing the character’s chaotic path to self-discovery and empowerment through the high-stakes world of fashion.

Emma Stone captivates as the ambitious and increasingly twisted title character, delivering layers of complexity to the iconic villainess. Emma Thompson`s portrayal of the Baroness offers an ice-cold foil, etching a memorable mark on the gallery of Disney antagonists. A strong supporting cast, including Joel Fry and Paul Walter Hauser as Cruella`s loyal henchmen, bolster the central performances with wit and heart.

Gillespie steers `Cruella` with a precise blend of visual flair and kinetic storytelling, harnessing the aesthetic of the era while crafting character-driven spectacle. His direction endows the film with signature style and enlivens the character dynamics with a modern sensibility.

Cruella movie review

The soundtrack is a vibrant mixtape of `70s staples, energetically supporting the film`s mood shifts and echoing its punk undertones. Nicholas Britell`s original score weaves these iconic hits with his own compositions, resulting in a rich soundscape that complements the film`s action.

Cinematographer Nicolas Karakatsanis captures the decadence and decay of 1970s London through a sumptuous lens, rendering the city as much a character as those who inhabit it. The camera dalliances between class and crass with purpose, emphasizing Cruella`s dual nature.

The production design is one of `Cruella`s` crowning achievements, creating a lush, detailed world brimming with extravagance. Each frame dazzles with the extravagance of the high fashion milieu while staying true to the gritty London streets.

Special effects play a supportive, if not standout, role in `Cruella`. The transformation of set pieces and the lavish fashion creations rely as much on practical craftsmanship as CGI, blending seamlessly to enrich the visual tapestry.

Cruella movie review

Through skilled editing, the narrative zips along with an energy that befits Cruella`s racing mind, artfully interlacing moments of introspection within the whirlwind of plotting and spectacle.

The pacing deftly navigates the ascent of Cruella`s character from obscurity to extravagant villainy. It delights in its indulgence of extended runway scenes while managing to keep the story moving at a brisk, engaging speed.

The dialogue is sharply penned, crackling with the same ferocious intensity as the rivalry between the film`s two strong female leads. Banter and biting repartee are on full display, signifying a script that knows the power of a well-delivered line.

From a critical standpoint, ‘Cruella’ can teeter into an over-stylized narrative at the expense of depth, occasionally glossing over potential complexities in favor of visual splendor. Some might find the justification of Cruella`s dark turn less than compelling, preferring a less sympathetic portrayal of her villainy.

Overall, `Cruella` is a fashion-forward foray into the backstory of a famous villain, less concerned with moral absolutes and more with exploring the shades of gray in between. It’s a dazzling display of costume and set design, bolstered by strong performances and a soundtrack that thoroughly embraces the anarchic spirit of its central figure. This revisionist take on Cruella de Vil delivers a cinematic catwalk that is as stylish as it is audacious, proving that there`s ample room to explore even the darkest corners of the Disney universe.