Mort Vandewalt (Jake Gyllenhaal) is an art reviewer and critic. Visiting expos and art exhibits for a living, Mort has no problems calling it what it is and then writing about it through online blogs or his next novel.
Mort soon becomes rather curious when one of the art exhibitors he works with discovers a series of incredible (but also unusual) paintings done by an artist that no one has ever heard of. He will soon find that the paintings carry a supernatural curse that seeks revenge and death on those who have wished to make money from these paintings.
Velvet Buzzsaw may come across as a horror film on paper, but it feels more like an Art House film meets Final Destination. The film tends to focus on the people who work in the business side of the art industry and not so much about the artists themselves. It’s an exciting idea, and I was rather curious, but unfortunately, this film is loaded with characters who are challenging to enjoy on-screen. As you would expect, actor Jake Gyllenhall steals the screen whenever he appears, but the downside here is that the film contains many other characters who are greedy and selfish, and get plenty of screen time. As I sat during the film’s duration, at times, I questioned if actor Jake Gyllenhaal would have more screen time, or worse, sometimes I forgot he was actually in the film until he reappeared again. Being the strongest actor in this film, it’s a disappointment whenever the film chooses to focus on other characters for a lengthy duration.
As a plot, we do have something different, but its theme is nevertheless something we have seen before. A curse who selects to take out horrible and silly characters reminded me so much of Final Destination. Certain side characters are here only to provide a death scene or for us to watch them fight for their lives. I mention Final Destination as an example because when you know what’s coming to a specific character, the film likes to give a scene that goes on as long as possible in which the viewer keeps questioning how someone will die or what the cause of death will be. It’s scenes like these that hurt the film as I felt they all dragged way too long. Each death scene plays out the same way each time. Also, when I started watching the movie, I thought to myself… if this is a horror film, I bet that person dies first…. and sadly I was correct.
As far as Visual and Sound Design, Netflix has once again delivered a film that will proudly show off your audio equipment, and I must compliment the film’s use of the centre channel for the actor’s dialogue.
Overall, Velvet Buzzsaw delivers a great idea to the screen, but the themes are something we’ve seen previously. Actor Jake Gyllenhall gives an outstanding performance (no surprise), but the film suffers when he is away from the screen for a lengthy duration. We also have a number of side characters who are greedy and selfish and I found it hard to really enjoy the side characters given the screen time they all get. Death sequences are also dragged out even when you know the final outcome. The film’s ending will also leave the audiences with questions as some aspects within the plot just don’t add up. It’s saddens me to say it, but this film is not a priceless work of art when it comes to cinema.
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Review Written by Peter Walkden