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Velvet Buzzsaw

“Art is either revolution or plagiarism.”

[Paul Gauguin]

The new one from Nightcrawler director Dan Gilroy is about what we’ve come to expect from Netflix Originals. A mix of Francis Bacon and Andrew Wyeth, with “Goya conjured face-melting visions in dark oils and projected . . . on the [screen]” — the film, however, finding itself in silence when being asked to stand in the individual lenses of self-expression. Flat and undeveloped in the requisite pace for engagement, Velvet Buzzsaw proves to skeptics of the art world that even a film about the manifestation of evil in the galleries of design cannot bear the competence required to entertain. Gimmicks at every turn without the language to even advance the semblance of a story line; here, in this first great failure of 2019, we have a horror film that makes the tedium of watching bad films insufferable.

Like the death of Toni Colette, those who watch this film with any sense of appreciaton are like the children walking around the artistic scene of a murder thinking it’s part of the furniture. The sheer vastness of its rudiments and dull shavings is astounding. A film, like its horror tropes, unable to escape the novelties of its framed exhibition. It felt like Frankly Zawe Ashton, one of the major characters in the film, never took acting lessons. Jake Gyllenhaal for his part was carrying the film with his flamboyant character study of a critic who slowly becomes aware of the dangers of the paintings and the consequences of negative reviews on the future livelihood of otherwise decent artists. Moments of the film felt completely superficial and designed for the unthinking public. Lines delivered unnaturally as if the audience is too dumb to follow the unspoken sequence. None of the scenes were creatively done and frankly inept in its banality: a hallmark of modern art, to say the least.

Like the death of Toni Colette, the movie goers of today are like children walking around the artistic scene of a murder thinking it part of the furniture. This freshman film rendition of The Final Destination sequels belongs on the 6th floor of the MoMa where creativity dies and a safe space for the inept flourishes. If museums are “ecstasy machines,” this one can barely run the currents on a cardiopulmonary bypass.

RATING: C-

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