"Brilliant. Bad. A little bit mad." It's Cruella. This crime comedy-drama film directed by Craig Gillespie, written by Dana Fox and Tony McNamara, and based on the character Cruella de Vil created by Dodie Smith. The film explores the rebellion early days of one of cinema's most notorious - and notoriously fashionable - villains, Cruella de Vil. Set in 1970s London amidst the punk rock revolution, the film follows a young grifter names Estella and reveals the series of events that cause her to embrace her wicked side and become the raucous and revenge-bent Cruella.
The titular villain was first introduced in Smith's 1956 novel The Hundred and One Dalmatians and was immortalised in Walt Disney's 1961 animated classic One Hundred and One Dalmatians. In 2011, a live-action Cruella de Vil film was announced with Aline Brosh McKenna penning the script. In early January 2016, Emma Stone was cast in the titular role. In August 2016, Jez Butterworth was hired to rewrite the script. In November 2016, it was reported that Alex Timbers was hired to direct. However, in December 2018, it was revealed that Timbers had left the film due to scheduling conflicts and Gillespie was hired to direct. In May 2019, McNamara and Fox were hired to pen a new script. By late August, Emma Thompson, Joel Fry, Paul Walter Hauser, Emily Beecham, Kirby Howell-Baptiste and Mark Strong rounded out the film's cast. Nicole Kidman, Charlize Theron, Julianne Moore, and Demi Moore were in consideration for Thompson's role, while Dev Patel was considered for the role of Roger Dearly. At the same time, principal photography commenced and wrapped in late November. Filming took place throughout London, England. The film was originally scheduled a December 23, 2020 release date, but it was delayed to May 28, 2021 as filming began. In late March 2021, it was announced that the film will be released simultaneously on Disney+ with Premier Access in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, it was announced that Nicholas Britell was hired to compose the film's score.
The film stars Stone in the title role, with Thompson, Fry, Hauser, Beecham, Howell-Baptiste and Strong. Being one of the few Hollywood actresses willing to risk, Stone makes the protagonist a woman as repellent as fascinating. However, Stone is too over-the-top to be Cruella but still pulls it off. Thompson is exceptional and memorable as The Baroness.
A frustrating and often troubling tonal nightmare that skates on thin ice for so long that it's always going to slip up. The film all reminds me of a punk teenager: She dresses in black leather, circles her eyes with mascara and constantly angry in her room, all the time with no idea what she's so angry about. There are so many threads running through the film that none get the opportunity to be pulled through to the end, and all feel incomplete. The film is a beautiful but simplistically shallow tale of one woman's downward spiral, tacked on to a recognisable cinematic icon.
Simon says Cruella receives: