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Emma Stone is a perfect fit for the young Cruella DeVille: as soon as she puts on the black-and-white guise the picture draws you in completely.

I'm as fed up as the next guy with movie studios pillaging the backstory of classic characters to start new franchises. But I must confess, as far as origin tales go Cruella isn't all that bad.

Admittingly the picture gets off to a rocky start with an exposition- heavy opening half-hour and director Craig Gillespie's incessant, nauseating use of camera moves and CGI trickery. But once Emma Stone puts on the famous black-and-white guise the picture kicks up a gear.

Stone sinks her teeth in the punk revamp of the character with real gusto and finds a perfect foil in that other Emma (Thompson) who makes for one of the more memorable Disney villains of late. Also winning is the comic relief provided Paul Walter Hauser, giving Dick van Dyke a run for his money with a barely plausible cockney accent.

To boot there are ace contributions by composer Nicholas Britell, cameraman Nicolas Karakatsanis and - foremost - Jenny Beavan, whose instantly iconic costumes display visual storytelling at its best.

So all in all Cruella makes for a fun evening at the movies.

release: 2021

director: Craig Gillespie

starring: Emma Stone, Emma Thompson, Joel Fry, Paul Walter Hauser


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