Francis Ford Coppola’s Chaotic Fever Dream Grasps Onto A Dying Hope In Humanity


  • A star-studded cast shines in this visionary film.
  • Chaos swarms the senses in Francis Ford Coppola’s transcendental delight.
  • Megalopolis is a complex manifestation of Coppola’s dream for humanity.

For over 40 years, acclaimed director Francis Ford Coppola has attempted to get his longtime project off the ground. After countless delays, Megalopolis premiered at 2024’s Cannes Film Festival. The film is an experimental fever dream about a dying faith in humanity and the fascination with building a utopian tomorrow. When the powers that be stand in our way, how do we fulfill our purpose of creating a legacy and a better world for future generations? Megalopolis isn’t just a transcendental delight for the senses, it’s a manifestation of Coppola’s dreams for humanity and his dedication to cinema.

Megalopolis, directed by Francis Ford Coppola, is a visionary 2024 film exploring the ambitious dream of reconstructing New York City into a utopia, following a devastating disaster. The narrative delves into the clash between the architect’s utopian vision and the political and personal turmoil that ensues. With a star-studded cast, the film examines themes of ambition, power, and the human spirit’s resilience against the backdrop of a futuristic metropolis.


  • The star-studded cast leans into their roles with style and conviction
  • Coppola’s direction invites chaos that swarms the senses
  • The ultimate message of hope in humanity grounds the film in reality

  • The film often gets overzealous in its theatrics

Adam Driver plays Cesar Catalina, an architect with a vision to transform a declining city into a sustainable utopia. With his power to control time, his rebuilding plan maps out an idealistic new future. The corrupt Mayor Franklyn Cicero (Giancarlo Esposito), who desires to maintain the current state of affairs, stands in his way. Even Catalina’s ill-willed cousin Clodio Pulcher (Shia LaBeouf) seeks to gain power from his father, Hamilton Crassus III (Jon Voight), to take over the city. With the help of the mayor’s daughter, Julia (Nathalie Emmanuel), the future isn’t so bleak for Cesar and his plans.

Megalopolis’ Strength Is In The Complexity Of Humanity

The film’s flashiness doesn’t overpower the story

From Megalopolis’ opening sequence, I knew watching Coppola’s latest would feel like an experience of a lifetime. He immediately introduces us to Catalina’s time-controlling abilities with sensational imagery, rich with intensity. As Driver’s Cesar leans over a skyscraper, he halts time with a simple command and unfreezes it just as easily with a snap of his finger. This simple sequence is accompanied by a ticking clock over a thunderous bass that wraps us in its allure with ease and excitement, as we anxiously wait to examine the deeper meaning of it all.

It’s an orderly, boisterous experience that intentionally heightens all the senses to ensure we feel the magnitude of its stunning world.

That’s the beauty of Megalopolis. It’s flashy and polluted with chaos, but it’s ultimately a simple story about the complexities of humanity when one man dreams of changing and saving the world while others are set on destroying it. Coppola presents us with political figures dead set on corruption to prevent change. Then, there are the rich, who will pull out all the stops to do the same by increasing their money, power, and influence.

Megalopolis Is A Stunning Cinematic Achievement

The story is modeled after the real world

Coppola models these characters after the real world, eliminating all subtlety and leaning into extremes. But underneath all the uproar is a glimmer of hope that Coppola wants us to grasp. The evil theatrics might be in your face, but so are those hopeful desires, which come barreling through with welcome humor.

Megalopolis contains a surplus of references and influences to ancient Roman times and its empire’s fall. The allegories laid out mask an even more revealing infrastructure about humanity when it comes to lust for power, wealth, and influence. Many people are losing faith in each other, in the American dream, and in humanity as a whole. And even if given time, it seems like things are getting worse. Time, after all, is something we’ve always been taught to appreciate as it flies by.

I encourage you to embrace the film as an expressive and seductive sci-fi drama that is an ultimate mind-bender.

But Coppola, in his artistic motion picture, challenges us to believe that we can manipulate it when we use it wisely – in this case, for humanity’s survival. With how Coppola presents such themes relating to the survival of humanity, it might be easy to sit through Megalopolis and view it as a pretentious body of work that limits itself in design. But I encourage you to embrace the film as an expressive and seductive sci-fi drama that is an ultimate mind-bender.

Megalopolis isn’t just an entertaining escape, it’s a fever dream that rarely lets up. It’s an orderly, boisterous experience that intentionally heightens all the senses to ensure we feel the magnitude of its stunning world. It might’ve taken over 40 years to get the film made, but Megalopolis is an achievement in cinema and well worth the wait.

Megalopolis screened during the 2024 Cannes Film Festival.

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