Velvet Buzzsaw

A feared critic, an icy gallery owner and an ambitious assistant snap up a recently deceased artist’s stash of paintings — with dire consequences.

Year: 2019
Certificate: 15
Director: Dan Gilroy
Starring: Jake GyllenhaalRene RussoZawe AshtonToni ColletteJohn MalkovichNatalia DyerDaveed DiggsTom Sturridge

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I’d recommend sticking with the trailer – it has all the best bits and is sixty times shorter.

When “Velvet Buzzsaw” was first announced as being a film about art I have to say I wasn’t particularly enthralled by the description so I never even bothered to watch the trailer. The release date came and went and I carried on with my daily life as normal. So it took me by surprise a couple of weeks ago when I saw someone post in a Facebook group for horror fans about how much they enjoyed “Velvet Buzzsaw” so I went back and watched the trailer – because the description really didn’t make me think it was a thriller or horror of any sort… Having seen the trailer I decided that it was more like the kind of film I would enjoy watching. So I did and, after a rather verbose introduction, here’s my review.

The film follows Morf (Jake Gyllenhaal) who is an icy and feared art critic – the kind that can literally make or break an artist. For the first hour we see him attending a new art exhibition and the viewer is also introduced to a couple of artists such as Damrish (Daveed Diggs), an up and coming new artist; and Piers (John Malkovich) whose work has taken a hit since he became sober. We also meet a handful of other characters including gallery owner Rhodora (Rene Russo), love interest Josephina (Zawe Ashton) and Morf’s friend and art curator Gretchen (Toni Collette).

As you can see, there are some great actors here and they all play their parts incredibly well. Malkovich’s character Piers is quite fascinating – however he is barely used in the film and that aspect left me wanting more. There were a lot of characters in the film that just didn’t get the space or time to be developed yet it is made out that they will be important to the story.

One evening when Josephina goes back to her apartment block she sees an old man that has collapsed and died. She calls an ambulance and then follows a cat to his apartment. While in the dead man’s apartment she sees a lot of pieces of art which she decides to keep and show to Morf and Rhodora. The dead man’s art then gets sold and put on display and makes people a lot of money.

About an hour into the film things start to happen – the paintings and art seem to come to life in varying degrees and there are a few mysterious deaths. It can be quite darkly humerous at times and I did enjoy these parts of the film but there was one big annoyance: I had seen all of those parts in the trailer.

The cast and the quality of acting are all very good, the visual style of the film is great and the idea for the film is equally clever – it just doesn’t quite manage to pull it off. At times I was a bit bored (I found myself checking Facebook and Twitter a few times through the film) but I stuck with it because I’d seen the trailer and had high hopes of it getting better. The film doesn’t seem to know what it wants to be – a film about the cut-throat world of art; a film about love and relationships; a thriller; a drama; a horror… What we end up with from “Velvet Buzzsaw”, however, is a bit of a mess with no real character development and a mostly unexplained storyline.

It’s not often that I don’t enjoy a film but with this one I’d recommend sticking with the trailer – it has all the best bits and is sixty times shorter. The film, overall, simply left me feeling somewhat unfulfilled.

Have you seen this film? Let us know your opinions in the comments below and of course if there are any films on Netflix UK you want us to review let us know!

About MaFt

Film and TV fan, creator of New On Netflix (UK, USA, Australia and Canada), dad of two amazing children, code geek and passionate about autism.

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