Velvet Buzzsaw Review (Sundance)

A satirical thriller targeting the world of art when an unknown painter’s work is discovered and all artists want to get their hands dirty.



It doesn’t get more boujie than this. Everything you love and hate about art is here and most likely made fun of on purpose in this unique hybrid of comedy and thriller. Velvet Buzzsaw is extremely strange and sometimes uncomfortable due to its bland layout and storytelling techniques. We have a story about the elites (like anyone cares about them) profiting from a dead artist’s work. However, anyone involved must pay the price and reap what they sow.


Directed by Dan Gilroy, the genius behind 2014’s standout Nightcrawler, I expected much more from this film. If anything, we should have had a complete story here, but sadly, we do not. We see artists critique each other, blackmail, and sabotage for a runtime far less applicable in its case. Even the look of the film is whitewashed, providing not much color at all for a film on art. The gore is underwhelming for as we only see a glimpse of blood when the killings begin. If you are going to go for a thriller, I expect to see all the gore and brutality because this is what we come for. Not the PG rated version to show when the kids are home. Most of the deaths were cut halfway through, leaving most people confused and empty. There is a rumor that the film may have gone over budget, leaving no room for extra footage. If that was the case, I would rather exchange some of the pointless critiquing scenes.


On the contrary, the best part about the film is the performances. Everyone gave a stylish, yet thorough performance that allows the viewer to at least finish the film. Jake Gyllenhaal in particular gives an academy award winning worthy performance, but unfortunately, the project is not strong enough to carry him there. Toni Collete also shows her chops by delivering a scintillatingly sexy performance as the bitchiest artist of them all. This was great to see a completely different version from her previous work in the recent hit Herediatary. Another standout is Zawe Ashton who beautifully plays Josephina, the finder of the dead painter’s work. These performances surprisingly makes the film worth the watch so I do not entirely regret snagging a ticket into the showing. I just wish the execution was as well done as the cast.


Not memorable, but worth the watch.


















This film is currently available to stream on Netflix.

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