Bertrand Bonello‘s Nocturama was among the finest films we saw last year and, thanks to a U.S. release that commences next month, should stand as one of the best released in 2017. Those who haven’t yet seen the thing may wonder why it’s endured through the noise that accompanies a nearly year-long run from festival to theatrical. My guess: it’s a thing to be overpowered by, to hear and see and feel, and because of Bonello’s careful excision of what typically characterizes a terrorism thriller — carnage, clear motivations, a palpable sense of right and wrong — it has all the more potential to stick to the brain.
And there are some earworms: Blondie, Chief Keef, Shirley Bassey, and, already infamously, Willow Smith. They’re great, but Nocturama‘s prime needle drop might be Heartsrevolution’s “Ultraviolence,” a blown-out and thickly layered tune, throbbing like the id of angry European teenagers — the band is from America, but still — that plays over a sequence wherein would-be-revolutionaries explore the shopping mall into which they’ve holed up while waiting out the significant attention they’ve attracted. The sequence, like the film itself, is all at once creepy, sad, and difficult to shake, precisely due to the more superficial pleasures at work. And, of course, it’s only one small part of the story.
See it below:
Nocturama opens at the Film Society of Lincoln Center and Metrograph on August 11, followed by a national rollout.