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Critic’s Choice: The dark pleasures of ‘Vox Lux’ include a haunting final score by Scott Walker

Critic’s Choice: The dark pleasures of ‘Vox Lux’ include a haunting final score by Scott Walker
Natalie Portman in the movie "Vox Lux." (Neon)

When Scott Walker died at 76 last month, the astonishing wealth of stirring, inventive music he left behind included a few film scores. The last of these, both brilliant, were composed for pictures written and directed by Brady Corbet: “The Childhood of a Leader” (2015), a post-World War I creep-out about a young fascist leader in the making, and last year’s “Vox Lux,” a mesmerizing psychodrama starring Natalie Portman as the mother of all pop-star train wrecks.

A barbed rejoinder to “A Star Is Born,” “Vox Lux,” now available for home viewing, lays out a sinuously structured argument on the cultural links between celebrity and terrorism, mass art and mass murder. Whether or not you agree with Corbet’s thesis, his simulacrum of pop celebrity is awfully seductive, which is partly the point. Dazzlingly awash in Walker’s orchestral magnificence and Sia’s thrilling original songs, “Vox Lux” was one of last year’s most under-appreciated films — and best musicals.

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