Cruella shows Disney has found its edge - Arc Cinema film review
You could be forgiven, especially as an adult, for seeing the Disney branding and thinking the attached movie is one for the kids or simply Sunday afternoon family fodder.
But when it comes to Cruella, the behemoth company’s latest film to hit the big screen, you can throw your preconceptions out of the window. And if you were the title character, you probably wouldn’t bother opening said window first!
I can’t over-state how good Cruella is. From the sensational 60s and 70s soundtrack, to the incredible wardrobe, atmospheric settings and superb acting in the hands of a terrific cast, this is a triumph.
What’s more, it is drenched in a sinister glaze that makes the two-plus hours fly by.
Playing to recent success through the likes of Maleficent, the story is something of a prequel, filling in the gaps of how one of Disney’s most notorious villains came to be the character we were first introduced to in 101 Dalmatians.
Glenn Close’s maniacal puppy-skinning incarnation of Cruella De Vil from 25 years ago this is not.
In this instance the iconic fashion designer is entrusted to Emma Stone and she carries out the responsibility with stunning style.
The tale builds from the time sweet Estella (Cruella’s original persona) struggles to fit in at a posh country school to the moment of her expulsion for too many blots on her copybook and a decisive move, with her single mum, to London.
But struck by tragedy, the youngster finds a new family in the shape of homeless scammers Horace and Jasper.
Turning to cons to make ends meet the trio are inseparable into their 20s when Estella is given the opportunity to ‘go straight’ and fulfil her talent as a designer under the ruthless Baroness (played superbly by Emma Thompson).
Heists, a tangled web of lies and even car chases follow, offering appeal to adults and young viewers alike (although I would say the 12A rating is very apt to get the most out of the movie).
The likes of Mark Strong, Joel Fry and Paul Walter-Hauser play their parts as the film reaches a crescendo and provides the payoff that ties the story up in a familiar bow.