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Megalopolis review round-up: ambitious epic divides critics at Cannes

The auteur's self-funded movie is a sprawling mess, but is that a bad thing?

Megalopolis review round-up: ambitious epic divides critics at Cannes

Movie-making legend Francis Ford Coppola has made what well might be his last film, Megalopolis.

It’s a self-funded $120 million epic from the director of The Godfather trilogy and Apocalypse Now. Megalopolis also just had its premiere at Cannes, and the reception has been mixed to say the least.

Adam Driver’s Cesar Catilina is an architect who wants to rebuild New Rome (New York, basically) as a progressive utopia. But he’s in a power struggle with Frank Cicero (Giancarlo Esposito) and Hamilton Crassus (Jon Voight), who have other ideas.

The plot isn’t what drivers Megalopolis, though, it’s the ideas. And the film is stuffed with them.

Whether that’s a good thing or not is up for debate.

However, this is a case where some of the most scathing reviews may make you want to watch Megalopolis more than the positive ones. Let’s dig in, starting with the one that makes us hope the movie will be rocking up to our local silver screen before too long:

Megalopolis reviews

Vulture: “He’s done it again, and perhaps exceeded himself. Megalopolis might be the craziest thing I’ve ever seen. And I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy every single batshit second of it.”

Rolling Stone: “uncompromising, uniquely intellectual, unabashedly romantic, broadly satirical yet remarkably sincere about wanting not just brave new worlds but better ones.”

International Cinephile Society: ”It is evidently a film you have to see at least once in your life because it is a unique piece of art. But a unique piece does not automatically make a masterpiece, and Megalopolis is far from that.” 2.5/5

Megalopolis: The bad reviews

Vanity Fair: “Coppola’s dull but voluble script says very little, or at least very little that can be cogently deciphered. The film plays as if the entire thing was rewritten after the actors had shot their parts and gone home.”

Collider: “The film is like a Rorschach test where everything is a stretch and nothing has any substance to it… With all this being said, the film is watchable. In fact, the competency of the whole thing ends up cutting both ways. On the one hand, you’re often watching fairly standard scenes play out with a handful of actors who’ve done great work before while attempting to do so here. On the other hand, there is something that feels more stodgy than subversive the longer it goes on.”

Daily Beast: “Megalopolis is stilted, earnest, over the top, CGI ridden, and utterly a mess. And yet you can picture a crowded theater shouting along with Jon Voight as he says in one key scene, “What do you make of this boner I got?”

When is this movie coming to normal cinemas?

IMAX has confirmed it plans to screen the movie globally. But it doesn't yet have distribution everywhere. In the UK Entertainment Film Distributors Limited will bring Megalopolis to cinemas, but has not distribution deal signed in the US yet.