Francis For Coppola’s ‘Megalopolis’ First Reactions From Cannes

It’s finally here. After many reports about production issues, screenings and 40 years worth of waiting, Francis Ford Coppola‘s Megalopolis premiered at the Cannes Film Festival.

The anticipated epic is being met with a lot of mixed reactions (and confusion) from the reviewers, some lauding the audacity of the movie and others questioning its existence.

The Hollywood Reporter‘s chief film critic David Rooney offers: “It’s windy and overstuffed, frequently baffling and way too talky, quoting Hamlet and The Tempest, Marcus Aurelius and Petrarch, ruminating on time, consciousness and power to a degree that becomes ponderous. But it’s also often amusing, playful, visually dazzling and illuminated by a touching hope for humanity.”

Over the last couple of months, multiple reports about Megalopolis — including from THR — have shed light on the project that Coppola has been discussing for decades. He poured a stunning $120 million of his own money into it and had a chaotic VFX-heavy shoot in Atlanta. Ahead of Cannes, a Los Angeles screening attended by studio heads and top industry players came and went with no buyers and even more reports that questioned the film’s commercial prospects.

(A fun touch from the gala screening: Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” played as Coppola approached the Palais for the premiere.)

“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,” reads Collider‘s review from Chase Hutchinson.

Writes New York Magazine‘s Bilge Ebiri, “Megalopolis comes to us as the (perhaps final) testament of an artist now in his 80s, but sometimes it feels like the fevered thoughts of a precocious child, driven and dazzled and maybe a little lost in all the possibilities of the world before him.”

The Guardian‘s Peter Bradshaw gave the film two stars, writing, “It’s simultaneously hyperactive and lifeless, 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.”

Megalopolis can feel almost as if HBO’s Rome was rewritten by a thousand monkeys, some of them even getting their spelling correct,” writes The AV Club‘s Jason Gorber. “The pure, unfiltered artistic integrity of Megalopolis reminds less of Roman tales than of Greek ones that evoke hubris and irony, which will come as absolutely no surprise to anyone that’s paid attention to Coppola’s inimitable career.” 

“Once you let go of the understandable dream of Coppola returning with another masterpiece, there is much to enjoy in Megalopolis, especially its castmembers, leaning into their moments with an abandon that was probably a job requirement,” writes The Los Angeles Times Joshua Rothkopf.

Megalopolis is a Roman epic set in an imagined modern America in a New York-like city where dueling visions for how to rebuild the city clash. Adam Driver, Nathalie Emmanuel, Aubrey Plaza and Giancarlo Esposito are among the large ensemble cast.


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