Before watching “Velvet Buzzsaw” I took note of a few things. I first noted that Dan Gilroy directed this movie and Jake Gyllenhaal starred in it. Not a problem. I love them, but they made “Nightcrawler” together, and that movie was weird.
For anyone who has not seen “Nightcrawler”, it is about a man who stumbles into a career in selling footage to the news, becoming obsessed with the publicity to a point where he loses his morality. This is not to say I did not watch and enjoy the movie, but it did tell me that I should expect a similar level of strangeness in “Velvet Buzzsaw”.
The odd aspect of this is not the only aspect of Dan Gilroy and Jake Gyllenhaal’s dynamic that I considered, but it was considered. Their movies also require a high level of brain power. I knew right away that I would not be able to watch this movie while doing other things.
This, of course, can be a good thing. It certainly commands full attention, and it does help you maintain a level of curiosity throughout the movie and after. Not to mention, my curiosity towards the complexity of this movie motivated me to do some research after I finished watching it, which is something I never do.
Keeping these thoughts in mind, I got rid of all distractions (as is necessary) and began the movie. “Velvet Buzzsaw” is about the competitive, and morally ambiguous, life in the art scene. When an art critic named Morf (Jake Gyllenhaal), a gallery owner named Rhodora (Rene Russo), and a secretary named Josephina (Zawe Ashton) discover a series of paintings and decide to sell them for millions of dollars, a series of gruesome deaths occur to people who made money off of the art.
This movie, like most Netflix movies nowadays, was a high quality film. Just as the topic of this movie involves art, watching this movie felt like attending an art show as an amateur art critic: it was beautiful, and enjoyable, but I did not understand anything below the surface.
I knew what I was looking for, but mainly because they kept bringing up Rhodora’s band of anarchists called Velvet Buzzsaw. Although I did like this movie enough, I may have liked it better if it did not make me feel so foolish for not grasping its meaning without help.
The plot of this movie was unique, and felt special. I am a strong believer that watching movies is one of the best ways to experience a life you will not get to live, and watching life in the art world was very intriguing.
The competition and greed was expected, but the intensity involved in the work was way beyond what I could have ever predicted.
It seems almost random who becomes famous for their artwork, and, considering the idea that artists peak after their death, along with the idea of greedy art sellers taking advantage of this fame, it was neat to see the horror-aspect of the film being used to show people being destroyed by their own greed.
I was especially drawn in by the fact that Morf and Damrish (Daveed Diggs) could somehow see the paintings move without any of the violence. My best guess was that, as Morf was only a critic and Damressh had not yet held a public art show, their lack of involvement in the most intensified part of the art world greed somehow allowed them to see the art as what it really was.
Also poor Coco (Natalia Dyer). This woman was just trying to live her life, she got a dream job in the big city, a big break to escape from her hometown in Michigan, and then everything happens. I will refrain myself from spoilers, but this girl really deserved so much better.
I do not love horror movies, and satirical films are not my favorite, but I would give “Velvet Buzzsaw” 2 ½ out of 5 stars. The half star is because of Jake Gyllenhaal. He is a fantastic actor, and I wish he would do something a little less complex (I don’t know if anyone has seen “Enemy”), but he is superb as Morf.
I do not think I would watch this movie again because it was not a movie that I consider a film for entertainment, and is absolutely not a watch more than once kind of movie.
Despite the fact that this movie did not exceed expectations, I did enjoy watching it with my full attention. This movie did require a lot of thinking, but it was worth it to do a bit of research.