Review: Velvet Buzzsaw (2019 Sundance Film Festival)

Title: Velvet Buzzsaw
MPAA Rating: R
Director: Dan Gilroy
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Zawe Ashton
Runtime: 1 hr 53 mins

What It Is: Morf Vandewalt (Gyllenhaal) is Los Angeles’ best and most influential art critic. If he gives your showcase the thumbs up you are set. If he buries you YOU’RE DONE. His working relationship with gallery owner Rhodora Haze (Russo) has been fruitful…for both. When Rhodora’s assistant Josephine (Ashton) discovers a dead man in the halls of her apartment complex this will start a chain of events that’ll change the LA art scene. This dead man Mr. Dease apparently was a painter in his life. And her discovery of his painting will gain them both fame…even if Dease never asked for it.

What We Think: Man this is a letdown. I was a humongous fan of Gilroy’s Nightcrawler. To such a degree I named it my best film of that year. This is not that. Far too long. Far too uninteresting and overall a complete piece of schlock. Jake Gyllenhaal’s performance is kind of the only thing you walk away positive about, but at this point, that is to be expected. He is often the best part of mediocre or even bad films (See Southpaw). Gilroy is a brilliant writer but WTF with the names in this? The height of this ridiculousness might be Tom Sturridge’s character Jon Dondon.

Our Grade: D, Netflix what the hell man? You have some much momentum going for you with Roma a real contender for quite a few Oscars. What do you do with that momentum? Buy this piece of crap and then also a film with mixed reviews coming out of Sundance. We’ll see how their year goes with several other films scheduled to come out. This one though I DO NOT recommend. It’s a waste of almost two hours of your life.

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