Velvet Buzzsaw lacks creativity

(photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

(photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

Daria Burnley

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By Daria Burnley

The movie Velvet Buzzsaw is a nightmare brought by some haunted paintings. However, the true horror lies in the greed and superficiality of the LA contemporary art scene.

The film is a satirical and overly eccentric look at an art world modeled on “putting a price on perception,” where each character is just that: archetypes of rich and superficial art proprietors and critics.

So when one ambitious assistant Josephina (Zawe Ashton) stumbles upon some macabre and mesmerizing pieces of art painted by her dead neighbor Dease (Alan Mandell), even though his final will stated that all of his art be destroyed. Yet, as the film can´t end there, Dease’s art quickly rises in popularity and demand thanks mostly to  Morf Vanderwalt (Jake Gyllenhaal), a highly influential art critic with god-like power over the art community, who created a persona of an artist he didn’t know into a top selling suffering soul and art house owner. Also influential is dealer Rhodora Haze (Rene Russo), ex-anarchist turned art curator and seller: in other words, a hypocrite.

The story follows them and other people who profit off of artwork, but specifically profit off of pain as the film makes it a point that the best art comes from the darkest places, shown where Piers (John Malkovich), a successful artist is criticized that his work was at his best when he was at peak alcoholism. The “dark places” include the haunted paintings that actually begin to begin to execute the greedy, and carry out punishment to those who capitalize on a person’s torment.

Even as the bodies begin to drop, Rhodora continues to distribute, publicize, and sell Dease’s art, which just leads to more death.

The movie as a whole, lacks subtlety and each character is so cartoonish and the exposition is so drawn out that nothing is really left to the imagination. A movie about creativity and art in a way lacks both.

I’d recommend to not watch the trailer as all of the intense scenes are basically spoiled. Director Dan Gilroy gives us a thriller where art and our opinions are manipulated by buyers and sellers. The real fear lies in that artistic output has become too commercialized, and raises the question of whether the value of art is determined by the artist or the business of art.

Oh, and there’s also a ghost.