‘Velvet Buzzsaw’ creates a buzz on Netflix
“Velvet Buzzsaw” is the latest thriller to come out of our loving overlord Netflix. It stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo and Zawe Ashton, all of whom take up interesting characters in the contemporary art world. It’s everything you would think: daring fashion, eloquent words said with a dramatic flair and a lot of museums, exhibits and art.
But it also has some things that fans wouldn’t expect – a couple of flat characters, some empty subplots and pacing issues.
It was a good movie because it uncovered the story behind the creator of the haunted paintings. It exposes the intricacies of an industry that otherwise are not common knowledge, which, combined with the existence of multiple haunted paintings, makes for a more compelling story. It makes the danger that much more exciting and open-ended. The film also makes a point to address concepts like greed, power, truth and shallow high-society personalities at work through metaphors and some decent conversation.
Even though it still felt flowery, vague and a little disingenuous, the point sailed through and it was clear that viewers were watching these snobs suffer some cosmic punishment.
In some aspects, the film failed to meet expectations. As viewers in the modern contemporary art world, audiences were expecting more brazen, original characters that they could sink their teeth into.
Instead, Netflix provided some fashion-forward individuals with bad attitudes who did not have any depth. The movie could have also done without the empty subplots that lead to nowhere. Josephina (Ashton) and Morf’s (Gyllenhaal) whole love story seemed to only exist just so that Morf would wrongfully tear apart Josephina’s ex-boyfriend’s art exhibition with his influence as an esteemed art critic. The choice to have that same ex-boyfriend die in a drunk driving accident seemed like a way for the writers to exploit Morf in his horrorific manipulation scene in the soundproof room.
However, despite all of this, Gyllenhaal’s performance certainly stunned as he continuously chose to dive into these characters with interesting lives and personalities. Viewers forget who he is for a moment and instead see him fully as a man who is clearly in love with art and its most experimental mediums, getting a rush from anything different, new and exciting.
It is Morf who, through his rose-colored glasses, still seems to see truth – and it may be because he’s so perfectly blunt and honest. The one-liners are funny, the characters are still fun to watch and the unfolding of the story builds to a decent climax. Plus, the bit with the assistant who is everybody’s assistant is funny toward the end. It’s not a bad movie, it’s just a little disappointing compared to what viewers thought they were going to get.