The film starts with two stunner sequences- the car chase and the singin’ in the rain– like tracking shot
Influences are a’ plenty from overt ones like goodfellas and fight club to homages to bullet and French connection and bawdy talk coffee shop pulp fiction banter
I could do without the monsters inc references
Wonderful 360 shot after the shootout at the warehouse
Almost something we’ve never seen before in terms of a study of diegetic music/soundtrack. This entire soundtrack (and it’s wall to wall) is in the head of the protagonist baby—brilliant
It’ s just extremely well edited- almost all of the actual edits are inspired- not just simple wipes but true transitions from moving one way before the end of the shot and continuing that in the next shot—makes the entire film feel like it’s floating– parts are, and this is not a compliment made lightly, literally edited to the music- it’s stunning
Ansel Elgort isn’t fully up to the challenge of the lead and title character here. There are multiple scenes where he’s acting cute, lip-syncing songs and dancing around- it takes a talented actor (like gosling or JGL) to pull off and not look like a douche bag— Elgort doesn’t pull it off and you need this for the film to go to the next level—he lacks their charisma
Wright has made perhaps the best film of the year to date but it still feels slightly disappointing- he’s a talented director with the ability to make masterpiece. Even though this is a great film, this isn’t a masterpiece
This may not be a MP but I was very impressed by the use of an internal soundtrack as you mentioned and Spaceys performance which I thought was the best one, I think I liked Elgort better than you but agree that the performance holds the film back a little.
Still it’s difficult to create something entirely original at this point in cinema yet this film comes pretty close, it obviously has some influences but I cannot say I’ve seen anything we hits like it. It also works at being able to satisfy different moods, if you want action check, if you want comedy check, if you want a drama check. It doesn’t really commit to any of single mood or genre which can certainly backfire but I think Wright pulls it off.
*but I cannot say I’ve seen anything quite like it.