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Cannes Film Festival 2024: Deadline's Comprehensive Reviews

Cannes Film Festival 2024: Deadline's Comprehensive Reviews
Published 4 weeks ago on May 21, 2024

Cannes Film Festival 2024: All Of Deadline’s Movie Reviews 
 

The 2024 Cannes Film Festival is underway with Quentin Dupieux’s The Second Act starring Léa Seydoux and Louis Garrel serving as the opening-night film. 

This year’s lineup includes major Hollywood premieres like Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga starring Anya Taylor-Joy and Chris Hemsworth, Kevin Costner’s first film of a planned four-part series Horizon: An American Saga, Francis Coppola’s long-gestating Megalopolis, Yorgos Lanthimos’ Kinds of Kindness in a reteam with Emma Stone, Paul Schrader’s Oh, Canada and Andrea Arnold’s Bird to name a few. 
They are joined by new films from stalwart auteurs including David Cronenberg, Jacques Audiard, Ali Abbasi, Jia Zhang-Ke, Christophe Honoré, Paolo Sorrentino, Gilles Lellouche, Mohammad Rasoulof, Michel Hazanavicius, Guy Maddin, Noémie Merlant and Oliver Stone. 

Read all of Deadline’s takes below throughout the festival, which runs May 14-25. Click on the title to read the full review and keep checking back as we updat the list. 

The Apprentice 

Section: Competition 
Director: Ali Abbasi 
Cast: Sebastian Stan, Jeremy Strong, Maria Bakalova, Martin Donovan, Charlie Carrick, Mark Rendall 
Deadline’s takeaway: Donald Trump has never seemed so, well, human, as his own early years show a man trying desperately for his father’s approval while at the same time trying to come out from under his shadow. Will it sell, and will it be released before November’s election? We shall see, but this is not a hit job on Trump. 

Armand 
 

Section: Un Certain Regard 
Director: Halfdan Ullmann Tøndel 
Cast: Renate Reinsve, Ellen Dorrit Petersen, Thea Lambrechts Vaulen, Endre Hellesveit, Øystein Røger, Vera Veljovic 
Deadline’s takeaway: Halfdan Ullmann Tøndel’s lineage should give you a fair idea of what’s in store here, but, surprisingly, Armand doesn’t dig especially deep into the human psyche, finally falling into a strange no man’s land between intense character drama and jet-black comedy. 

The Balconette (Les Femmes au Balcon) 
Section: Midnight Screenings 
Director: Noémie Merlant 
Cast: Noémie Merlant, Sanda Codreanu, Souhelia Yacoub 
Deadline’s takeaway: The bulky shade of Pedro Almodóvar looms over all these shenanigans, which could be read as “Women on the Verge of Heat Exhaustion” if there were more sense of it actually being hot, one of several flavors missing from Merlant’s confection of genres. 

Bird 

Director: Andrea Arnold 
Section: Competition 
Cast: Nykiya Adams, Barry Keoghan, Jason Buda, Jasmin Jobson, James Nelson Noyce, Frankie Box, Franz Rogowski, 
Deadline’s takeaway: Andrea Arnold knows just how to get under our skin. She embellishes the film with fantastical elements, but whether they’re really happening or part of Bailey’s childlike desperation to believe in anything magical, the film doesn’t make clear. But Arnold certainly wants us to know one thing: Bailey will be OK. 

Caught By the Tides 
 

Section: Competition 
Director: Jia Zhangke 
Cast: Zhao Tao, Zhubin Li 
Deadline’s takeaway: Jia Zhangke leads his partner and muse, Zhao Tao, on a decades-long romantic odyssey in Caught By the Tides, which tries too hard to play with time and form for the connection between its leads to be its central preoccupation. 

Christmas Eve in Miller’s Point 
 

Director: Tyler Taormina 
Section: Directors’ Fortnight 
Cast: Matilda Fleming, Michael Cera, Chris Lazzaro, Elsie Fisher, Gregg Turkington 
Deadline’s takeaway: It’s hard to categorize Taormina’s film, and, for some, its freewheeling, indie American Graffiti vibe might take a little getting used to. But Christmas Eve in Miller’s Point is a trip for anyone willing to roll with it, and more than cements Taormina as a talent to watch. 

Elizabeth Taylor: The Lost Tapes 
Director: Nanette Burstein 
Section: Cannes Classics 
With: Elizabeth Taylor 
 

Deadline’s takeaway: The tapes recorded in 1964 weren’t actually lost, but it all makes for a satisfying journey through one of Hollywood’s most memorable careers. There is the feeling of intimacy that makes this one special, if not exactly full of new revelations. 

Emilia Pérez 
Director: Jacques Audiard 
Section: Competition 
Cast: Adriana Paz, Edgar Ramirez, Mark Ivanir, Zoe Saldaña, Karla Sofía Gascón, Selena Gomez 
Deadline’s takeaway: None of this ever seems ridiculous, because Audiard leans into the musical genre’s conventions; rather than bending his provocative story to fit it, he bends the form itself. It may be too soon to call the Palme d’Or with a week of the Cannes Film Festival left to run, but Emilia Pérez looks very much like a winner. 

Ernest Cole, Lost and Found 
Director: Raoul Peck 
Section: Special Screening 
Narrator: Lakeith Stanfield 
Deadline’s takeaway: The documentary stands is a necessary tribute that ensures the South African photographer’s life, work and contributions will be remembered for generations. It is a reminder of the spirit required to confront and document injustice and the personal cost that often accompanies such commitment.  

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga 
Director: George Miller 
Section: Out of Competition 
Cast: Anya Taylor-Joy, Chris Hemsworth, Tom Burke, Alyla Browne, Lachy Hulme, Matuse, Goran Kleut, Charlee Fraser 
Deadline’s takeaway: With Furiosa, George Miller, now seemingly ageless at 79 (he was 34 when the first Mad Max came out), has perhaps given birth to the greatest Max yet, a wheels-up, rock-and-rolling epic that delivers on the origin story. 

Faye 
 

Director: Laurent Bouzereau 
Section: Cannes Classics 
With: Faye Dunaway 
Deadline’s takeaway: You will find yourself with renewed respect for this great star after watching this documentary on her life. Time for a Faye Dunaway retrospective, and this fine film is perfect reason to do it. 

Ghost Trail 
 

Director: Jonathan Millet 
Section: Critics’ Week 
Cast: Adam Bessa, Tawfeek Barhom, Julia Franz Richter, Shafiqa El Till 
Deadline’s takeaway: On the surface, Ghost Trail uses the traditional tropes of the spy movie, but it isn’t exactly thrilling, certainly not in the manner of a John le Carré novel. Closer in spirit to Spielberg’s Munich, it’s a quietly profound character study about the need for a closure that may never come. 

The Girl with the Needle 

Director: Magnus von Horn 
Section: Competition 
Cast: Vic Carmen Sonne, Trine Dyrholm 
Deadline’s takeaway: It is because this story’s truths are so stark that this high-wire work succeeds. Magnus von Horn is a masterful talent, and there is plenty of prize potential within his film. It’s an unequivocal and beguiling triumph.  

Horizon: An American Saga – Chapter 1 
Director: Kevin Costner 
Section: Out of Competition 
Cast: Kevin Costner, Sienna Miller, Sam Worthington, Jena Malone, Danny Huston, Luke Wilson, Michael Rooker, Will Patton, Owen Crow Shoe, Tatanka Means, Wase Winyan Chief, Jamie Campbell Bower, Isabelle Fuhrman, Jon Beavers 
Deadline’s takeaway: Horizon: An American Saga is an impressive beginning for Costner, who is just trying to keep the American Western alive. But he may, with this innovative roll of the dice, also be trying to keep theaters alive at the same time, that is if there is still an appetite for Westerns. Hopefully there is. 

Jim Henson Idea Man 
 

Director: Ron Howard 
Section: Classics 
Deadline’s takeaway: Howard’s documentary brings fresh energy to the subject through the skillful use of animations based on Henson’s impressive drawings and wonderful archival rarities that go beyond what has been seen in previous treatments of Henson’s life. 

Kinds of Kindness 
 

Director: Yorgos Lanthimos 
Section: Competition 
Cast: Emma Stone, Jesse Plemons, Willem Dafoe, Margaret Qualley, Hong Chau 
Deadline’s takeaway: Kinds of Kindness is about a ubiquitous interdependence between ruthless power and willing submission that crops up everywhere, which implies that we are all in its thrall. That makes it their gloomiest film yet. Of course, it is also very funny. 

Limonov: The Ballad 
Director: Kirill Serebrennikov 
Section: Competition 
Cast: Ben Whishaw, Viktoria Miroshnichenko 
Deadline’s takeaway: A boundary-blasting biopic that simply drips with punk-rock energy, revealing everything and nothing about a slippery character whose modus operandi was reinvention from the get-go and for whom consistency really was the hobgoblin of small minds. 

Lula 
 

Directors: Oliver Stone, Rob Wilson 
Section: Special Screenings 
Deadline’s takeaway: Stone has combed through the existing record very effectively to tell a good story, one that may provoke questions among Americans complacent about the work of their security services, including during the Obama years. And in a democracy, as shown in this film dealing with a country where democracy has often been on shaky ground, raising those questions cannot be a bad thing. 

Megalopolis 
 

Director: Francis Ford Coppola 
Section: Competition 
Cast: Adam Driver, Nathalie Emmanuel, Aubrey Plaza, Jon Voight, Shia LaBeouf 
Deadline’s takeaway: Watching Anthony Mann’s The Fall of the Roman Empire and eating cheese afterwards would be the only way to replicate Megalopolis‘ fever-dream grandeur, a series of stunning images, carried along by the loosest of plots, that pontificate on the self-destructive nature of humankind, the only species capable of civilizing itself to death. 

My Sunshine 
 

Director: Hiroshi Okuyama 
Section: Un Certain Regard 
Cast: Sosuke Ikematsu, Keitatsu Koshiyama, Kiara Nakanishi 
Deadline’s takeaway: Okuyama does not attempt to hit us over the head or engage in the tropes of this kind of story revolving around the growing pains of youth. There is no melodrama here. Instead he moves his camera (he is also cinematographer) as gracefully as his young dancers, shot in such a way, quietly joyous at times, that it resembles a mood piece.  

Oh, Canada 
 

Director: Paul Schrader 
Section: Competition 
Cast: Richard Gere, Uma Thurman, Jacob Elordi, Michael Imperioli, Zach Shaffer, Kristine Froseth, Jake Weary 
Deadline takeaway: Oh, Canada is made up of pieces of a life put under a cinematic microscope at different periods, all moving in and out of the mind of a man who is dying but still lucid enough to tell the truths of his life as time is running out, some revealed for the first time as he grapples with both morality and mortality. 

On Becoming a Guinea Fowl 
 

Director: Rungano Nyoni 
Section: Un Certain Regard 
Cast: Susan Chardy, Henry B.J. Phiri, Elizabeth Chisela 
Deadline’s takeaway: In Nyoni’s sophomore film, the focus is the rub between tradition and modernity, using the occasion of a family funeral as the jumping-off point for a slow-burn drama that builds, rather stealthily, to an unexpectedly emotional climax. 

Rendez-vous avec Pol Pot 
Director: Rithy Panh 
Section: Premiere 
Cast: Irène Jacob, Grégoire Colin, Cyril Gueï 
Deadline’s takeaway: The journalists in Rithy Panh’s film aren’t superheroes; their quest for that truth has its own motivations. Yet the importance of their journey to find it cannot be understated. The film might not walk totally fresh ground for Panh, but there is real power in one filmmaker’s dedication to re-examining real world horror from many angles over many years. 

Rumours 
 

Directors: Guy Maddin, Evan Johnson, Galen Johnson 
Section: Competition 
Cast: Cate Blanchett, Roy Dupuis, Nikki Amuka-Bird, Charles Dance, Takehiro Hira, Denis Ménochet, Rolando Ravello, Zlatko Buric, Alicia Vikander 
Deadline’s takeaway: Anyone with a fascination for political process and the idiocies of bureaucracy will find one joke after another hitting the bullseye in Rumours, a more explicitly satirical work that we have come to expect from Canadian director Guy Maddin. For anyone else, it is mild fun at best. 

The Second Act 
 

Director: Quentin Dupieux 
Section: Out of Competition 
Cast: Léa Seydoux, Louis Garrel, Vincent Lindon, Raphaël Quenard 
Deadline’s takeaway: Maybe Quentin Dupieux should have paid more attention when he was writing; maybe he should have spent longer in the editing suite. But if the results are always a bit ragged, does it matter? Dupieux might never make a masterpiece, but his slapdash, wild entertainments are irresistible. 

The Substance 
 

Director: Coralie Fargeat 
Section: Competition 
Cast: Demi Moore, Margaret Qualley, Dennis Quaid 
Deadline’s takeaway:  Imagine David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive fused in a telepod with David Cronenberg’s Dead Ringers, add the unbelievably dynamic pairing of Demi Moore and Margaret Qualley, process it through the ultra-vivid color palette that is Fargeat’s hyper-saturated imagination, sprinkle a bit of J.G. Ballard on top, and you have the perfect breakout genre movie of the year. 
 

The Surfer 
 

Director: Lorcan Finnegan 
Section: Midnight Screenings 
Cast: Nicolas Cage, Julian Mcmahon, Nic Cassim, Miranda Tapsell, Alexander Bertrand, Justin Rosniak, Rahel Romahn, Finn Little, Charlotte Maggi 
Deadline’s takeaway: Nic Cage as a surfer dude? Unlikely, but who cares? The Surfer is an object lesson in how to make a film economically by using a single location, a bunch of surfing extras and some stock footage of lizards. Which is the grindhouse ethic at work, for sure. 

Three Kilometers to the End of the World 

Director: Emanuel Parvu 
Section: Competition 
Cast: Bogdan Dumitrache, Ciprian Chiujdea, Laura Vasily 
Deadline’s takeaway: Parvu is careful to show the complexity of these characters as well as of their weave of betrayals, mistakes and wrongdoing. The actors bring to their portraits the naturalistic ease combined with intensity that is a hallmark of Romanian New Wave cinema, each one a whole person with their own reasons. 

When the Light Breaks 

Director: Rúnar Rúnarsson 
Section: Un Certain Regard 
Cast: Elín Hall, Katla Njálsdóttir, Ágúst Wigum, Mikael Kaaber, Baldur Einarsson, Gunna Hrafn Kristjánsson 
Deadline’s takeaway: As an opening-night choice for Cannes‘ Un Certain Regard, When the Light Breaks sets a standard for the original and specific vision that is expected of films in this section.  

Wild Diamond 

Director: Agathe Riedinger 
Section: Competition 
Cast: Malou Khebizi, Andréa Bescond, Idir Azougli, Ashley Romano 
Deadline’s takeaway: Riedinger’s debut feature approaches her subject with remarkable empathy, taking Liane on her own terms and seeing her surroundings largely through her eyes. 

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