by Sanya Kher (’25) | October 11, 2021
The movie Cruella presents viewers with outstanding camerawork and brilliant character development. However, it is fast-paced and can be confusing at times. The New York Times described the film as “engag[ing] [to] the eye,” and “fresher than most recent Disney live-action[s],” but also complains that it “doesn’t offer much that is genuinely new.” Companies and news outlets like NPR vocalize their thoughts on it as “undeniably entertaining” but also show some “conceptual weakness[es].” What number would I rate this movie?
The cinematography in the film was breathtaking. The energy and scripting was fast-paced and helped the story unfold majestically. Nicolas Karatsanis, a member of the cinematography team, said that “forward pushes” and “steady camerawork” also helped elaborate important moments in different scenes. The small details in “editing, music, and camera moves” also created a very welcoming, open and “layered dynamic.”
Karakatsanis went on to say that the director made sure that already filmed pieces of the movie were edited and ready by the time he was ready to shoot the next scene. This is important because it allowed the director to understand where, when, and how to pick up the rhythm and movement from the previously recorded scene. All this bundled together is what helped create wonderful scenes and kept the movie flowing.
Another positive aspect of the movie was Cruella’s character development. At the beginning of the movie, Cruella was portrayed as a disobedient and unmanageable student who constantly gets sent to the principal’s office for various acts of defiance. After the tragic murder of her mother, she was forced to grow up learning what grief is. The sudden death of her mom not only visibly, but mentally changed her. After running away and mourning her mother, she ran into two child pickpockets, Horace and Jasper, and decided to join them to be a part of their team.
From this point on, Cruella’s main focus is on seeking revenge on the person who killed her mother. When she becomes an adult, she gets a job working at a popular fashion business as a janitor. During an unexpected meeting with the Baroness (who happens to be the CEO of the leading fashion business), Cruella is hired and starts working for her as a fashion designer.
After gaining popularity with the customers and discovering that the Baroness killed her mother, Cruella begins to change for the worse. She starts disregarding her close friends Horace and Jasper, and begins to treat them as her butlers. Eventually, she is able to overthrow the Baroness, while also mending her relationship with her friends. Through her ups and downs, Cruella shows a lot of character development in not only Cruella herself, but in other characters as well.
Although the movie has many positive characteristics, it can be confusing to understand the mix of emotions and rapid storytelling that is found in the movie. For example, the sudden age jump that occurs from when Cruella was a child to when she became an adult is confusing to some viewers because of how fast the plot is moving. Also, the age jump fails to fully clarify Cruella’s backstory and accentuate the importance of certain events. With a little more emphasis on slowing the plot in order to make sure the viewers follow what’s happening in the story, it would have been much more exciting and understandable.
In conclusion, Cruella was a wonderful movie, leading me to rate this movie a 4.5 out of 5 because of the engaging character development, but accelerated pace of the plot. This is a great watch for people who like action, drama, and crime.