Velvet Buzzsaw - How Is Netflix's Art Thriller?

Velvet Buzzsaw - How Is Netflix's Art Thriller?

A Friday night, after a week full of arty novelties like going to an art movement dinner in Soho with Pandemonia, and checking out the opening of an Andy Warhol polaroid exhibition, I ended up watching Netflix’s latest movie release and art thriller VELVET BUZZSAW.

So here is my opinion!

It’s a satirical, arty and bloody thriller, slightly reminding me of some Saw movie scenes. I think a shorter version of the movie would have been a great Black Mirror episode.

What is it about?
It’s all set in the world of contemporary art in Los Angeles. A gallery owner and her “ambitchious” assistant snap up the paintings of an unknown man who recently died. Adding a feared art critic who wants to write a book about all that, an arrogant art advisor and some more art world characters, they all form a group of greedy people who will face drastic consequences of selling those painting.

On a scale from 1-10, I would give the movie a 6. It’s well done and reminded me really of the horror movie series “Saw” but with more beautiful and fancy settings. Of course Velvet Buzzsaw tells a different story but in the end you will also find a whole group of people dead. The film sends a simple message with those deaths: everybody who tries to monetise the (in my eyes stolen) artwork of a deceased artist will pay a price with his or her life. The greediness of those people from the art world shows that it’s almost entirely about the money and fame and not about the artist himself. It’s sad. However the paintings get people to feel something. And I found it not surprising that the only two people who don’t die in the movie are artists themselves. Nobody shows a deeper interest in the life of the artist except for one attempt of a gallery owner who tries to find out some dark pieces of the artist’s past. And of course the art reviewer wants to make a whole book out of it. Out of interest, passion? I don’t think so. To confirm that the world listens and follows his critics? He gets killed by a “piece” of art that how I find mirrors his cool and calculated personality. Josephine, his pseudo-girlfriend and gallery assistant is running after fame and money. She is the one character that got really on my nerves during the whole movie. It’s interesting to observe all the art people and I would let you watch it now and build your own opinion.

All in all, you will watch a great movie, see nice art pieces but the focus is on all these ego characters. What does that tell us about the art world?

Morf Vandewalt, the art reviewer.
Josephine - his pseudo-girlfriend
Gretchen - the art advisor who left the museum
Rhodora Haze - art gallery owner

Who directed it? Dan Gilroy who also wrote and directed Nightcrawler.

The famous faces in it?
Most famous faces are John Malkovich, a well trained Jake Gyllenhaal, Toni Collette, Natalia Dyer, Rene Russo.