Darling, don't be disillusioned, it's exactly what you want

Darling, don't be disillusioned, it's exactly what you want ...

Harry Styles addressed his new star vehicle during the notorious Venice film festival press conference for Dont Worry Darling: "It feels like a... movie." Styles said the words went viral for the first or only time during Dont Worry Darlings cursed press tour.

Dont Worry Darling, a film directed by Olivia Wilde and starring Florence Pugh, is a must-see go-to-the-theater film. Its packed with hot famous people wearing immaculate clothes. It's got a little bit of sex, a little bit of mystery, and a little bit of action. It's a bold, brassy, high-concept studio thriller that we've rarely seen before. (At least, I think that's what

The subsequent cyclone of gossip seems to be a part of the experience, or at least consistent with it: a decadent, glossy tableau of turn-of-the-millennium celebrity culture. However, we can leave any mention of the scandal there, as it shows in the finished product, which is slick and well-made although not well-thought-out.

Dont Worry Darling is set in a 1950s corporate idyll. Alice (Pugh) and Jack (Styles) are a besotted young couple living in a modular, midcentury suburban paradise shaded by tall palm trees. There is a hidden secret here: the project's leader is a charismatic figure called Frank (Pine), a cultish figure who speaks only in bland, nonspecific aphorisms about their common cause and utopian lifestyle.

Alice passes through this existence in a shambles, sipping cocktails with her sardonic neighbor Bunny (Wilde) and dancing with the other women under the cool gaze of Franks wife, Shelley (Gemma Chan). She notices flaws in the facade of this ideal world; her own attention slips, and her reality fractures.

There seems to be little connection between this glitzy, hyper-real, rather sour psychological thriller and Wildes' previous film, Booksmart, which is likable and conscientiously sweet, with a strong, tenacious, crowd-pleasing personality. It's an all-too-rare pleasure to see a female filmmaker working in this populist register, with considerable studio resources behind her. (The Woman King, also in theaters, hopefully makes it a trend.)

Wilde's willingness to go for the jugular served her better in a ribald comedy than in a mystery-box film. Some of them are original and striking: Pugh getting pushed back by the plate glass windows of her perfect home, or suffocating herself with plastic wrap. Others are cliched and painfully on the nose: those empty eggs, a Hitchcock box set that's been encased in a sledgehammer.

Alice circles closer to the truth about whats happening to the Victory wives, and yet, to an even mildly movie-literate audience, everything is exactly as it appears to be. Even if you don't know the exact nature of the Shyamalan-esque twist in the narrative, you'll be able to anticipate its contours long before it arrives.

Perhaps there is a sincere honesty to this, even if it's just rage. After all, if you're asking what keeps women bound to an unfulfilling fantasy of becalmed domesticity, it's no mystery at all. Perhaps to pretend otherwise for the sake of a satisfying twist would be its own form of gaslighting. But if that's the case, then a high-concept mystery thriller would certainly be the wrong medium for the message.

The final act of the film is a mess of illogic, irresolution, and half-formed ideas. The filmmakers retract the curtain and point the finger, but they cannot seem to bear to explain themselves or to work out the consequences. (Dont Worry Darling has all of the hallmarks of being overdeveloped.)

The actor who is stranded in the film collapse is not Pugh, but Styles. He isnt the catastrophe some gleefully predicted, but he looks quite dashing, and his boyish artlessness works better with the films themes than you might expect; in Victory, the women arent the only ones being manipulated; he deflates awfully; underneath Harry Styles of everything, there is no longer anything left.

Alice may be just as a cipher on the page, but on screen, Pugh's rooted physicality and radiant, mischievous, stubborn sense of life are greater than real. She will not be denied, and she propels Dont Worry Darling over the finish line with sheer will.

Pugh's performance is enough to warrant a look at this shiny, smoothly finished film that feels like a film. The film's visual style, lighting, and sound design are all exquisite, and it's played with skill. Musically, it's richer and more edgier, putting crooning doo-wop and civilized jazz against John Powell's unsettling, nervy score. But Wilde, determined to keep the story short, has successfully closed the door.

Dont Worry Darling will be released on September 23 in cinemas.