I enjoy the work of Dan Gilroy. I thought that Nightcrawler was a marvelous film. Velvet Buzzsaw has been in my Netflix queue since it came out earlier this year. I have just finished the film and I can’t quite determine how I feel.
I didn’t hate it. That much I know. As far as a satire of the art world, it’s good. It ultimately reveals that nobody really knows what the hell they are talking about. I enjoyed the horror undertones. I thought that it added a depth that was needed. However, I do not think that it was flushed out enough.
The one thing I knew about the film before watching is that Gilroy had described it as having a “Robert Altman-like large ensemble cast. It’s got a The Player vibe to it”. With that, I completely disagree. Yes, it has a large ensemble cast, but it comes nowhere near the casts that Robert Altman would have or his style of filmmaking, as far as dialogue and storylines go.
I think the scene that truly makes the audience realize that we are watching a satire is when Toni Collette’s character, Gretchen, dies. Everybody assumes that this dead body and blood are part of the exhibit. They don’t think it’s real. School children even walk in the “fake” blood and track it around the exhibit. I don’t care who you are; That is hilarious and hits the nail right on the head in regards to the art world.
Like I said, I would have liked the horror aspect to be flushed out a bit more, maybe a bit more engrained in the story. It felt like it had just been layered on top of an already existing story. I would have liked some of the characters, like Billy Magnussen’s character, Bryson, or Natalia Dyer’s character, Coco, to be more developed. Is the film comparable to Gilroy’s previous work, Nightcrawler? I don’t think so. But, Velvet Buzzsaw is, at least, enjoyable with a hell of a cast.