From the moment I saw the trailer for Velvet Buzzsaw (from Nightcrawler director Dan Gilroy) I was counting down the days to finally see it.
The gist: A diseased artist’s ground-breaking work is discovered, turning the artworld inside out when its demonic subjects come to life.
Cast-wise this film cannot be beaten with strong leads, – Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Toni Collette, John Malkovich and Zawe Ashton – outrivalling each other in the toxic art world of LA. This makes Velvet Buzzsaw extremely engaging from the off. If only the story correlated in sync…
The combination of elitist personas and the use of ‘of this world’ locations (Art Basel Miami) fuses the eccentric with the plausible – it allows you to sit comfortably on the border of fact and fiction. When a collection of paintings take a dark turn within the consumer market there are certainly interesting reprisals, – allegories, perhaps – but they fail to pack a punch. The premise is no doubt brilliant, and the working relationships have that celebrity intrigue, but it is seemingly the horror angle that lacks direction. It offers intrigue but falls just at the last hurdle – I had anticipated more suspense and thrill. In part this could be due to the many strings which need tying up, which distracts from finding one secure knot at the end.
Although scattered the film ultimately has a brilliant premise, sensational acting, and has a lot of fun.