Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets ★★★

"Unless you make peace with your past, you won't have a future."

Bonkers, infuriating and undeniably entertaining. Besson builds a universe laced with impossible wonder and then populates it with characters so unbelievable, and often so dislikeable, all of whom blunder their way through a narrative so ludicrous that the only conclusion one can draw from it is that he is engaged in some next-level trolling.

This is most apparent in the casting of DeHaan and Delevingne as our two heroes. It's not just that such casting shouldn't work but that there was apparently no intention of it ever working either. The relationship between their characters is one-note and predictable, and they possess what I can only describe as an "anti-chemistry" that is so bizarre it ends up being by far the most engrossing part of the affair.

And yet... it almost succeeds. Perhaps Besson simply bombards us into submission with his absurdist take on life, the universe and everything in it, but this concoction of disparate elements almost - almost - comes together to create a functioning whole, in spite of the hammy performances and a frankly disastrous screenplay.

It's an absolute failure on practically every level but it's an admirable and bombastic one that is improbably but genuinely quite engaging, and I found myself unable to resist its many peculiar little charms.