La La Land

After John Wick 2, we watched La La Land. I wouldn’t recommend doing this in reverse order; very loud gunfights aren’t a great way to recover from a nuanced sing song about jazz and beautiful people. I’m also not sure, even with 24 hours’ perspective, whether La La Land is just a tremendous piss-take or not. 

The evidence for that is strongest in the opening scene, an over-the-top dance sequence which plumbs the depths of shameless mugging to the audience, jazz hands, fancy footwork, shimmy-shimmy-shim-shim-sheree nonsense. It’s very funny to watch people cavorting around a traffic jam, and highly impressive that this scene could be achieved, but it’s also one of those look-at-me aren’t-I-great moments that draws your attention to the artifice of the whole enterprise. 

That remains true for the rest of the film: it’s a wonderful confection but you never forget that is what it is. Perhaps it’s wrong of me to think of John Wick as realistic, when both films have in common a certain stylisation, and definitely both are films where the colour palette has been very carefully thought about. But with John Wick 2 the plot goes along so fast that you’re sucked into it, whereas with La La Land you’re perpetually sliding off something beautifully crafted. 

Is it then, without a soul? I think the ending proves that not to be the case, a magnificent final ten minutes that ties the film together and that I won’t write about here. It looks lovely, it sounds very nice (though I can’t say Emma Stone’s voice is as big as the role demands – too breathy and ethereal) and nobody gets shot. What more do you want from a film?


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