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The Art of Pain (2008)

| Comedy | July 2008 (USA)
A lazy painter learns that great art comes from pain as his life is ruined by a ninja.







Credited cast:
Marshall Bean ...
Lauren Ashley Bishop ...
Sharon (as Lauren Bishop)
Greg Brookens ...
Danielle Brothers ...
Martha Russell
Dale Chapman ...
Nick's father
Wesley Chu ...
Lead ninja
Fratty McFrat
Anders Erickson ...
Elliott Fredland ...
Kiel Frieden ...
Shoved theater patron
Nihilist Gelo ...
Marcus (as J. Scott)
Jake Hames ...
Patrick Higgs ...
Brother Francis
George Romano


INSPIRE AN ARTIST, RUIN HIS LIFE - The peace of the mall movie theater is about to be shattered! Jack, a stagnated painter, must train new theater employee Marcus, a rage filled, motorcycle-riding martial artist. Marcus hits on Jack's actress girlfriend Sharon, and really gets the goat of comic-loving sci-fi geek, Nick. More tensions flare when Jack's boss announces a coveted career launching painting contest. Turns out that Marcus studies the art of Ninja under the diabolical, pastrami-loving Nobu. After dishing out a nasty kung fu beat down, Nobu decrees that until Marcus can demonstrate his creativity, he will never earn his black belt. With a psychotic need to prove himself boiling up, Marcus latches onto the words of his hero, zombie film maven George Romano: "Great art comes from great pain." Suddenly, Sharon and Marcus are in bed together and Jack has found some gut wrenching inspiration to paint with. Wowed by his friend's new zest for art, Nick presses Jack to begin ... Written by Matt Brookens

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

art | ninja | pain | zombie | See All (4) »


Inspire an artist. Ruin his life. See more »





Official Sites:




Release Date:

July 2008 (USA)  »

Filming Locations:

Box Office


$400,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?


The movie theater where The Art of Pain was shot at is the historic Landmark at the Century Mall. The director, Matt Brookens, wrote the screenplay while working there as an usher. "I always wanted to see what would happen if somebody were to fall off that ledge in the middle of the mall," states Brookens. "I finally got to throw someone off in the film!" See more »

Crazy Credits

Wolf Wrangler- John Basile. Yes we had an Arctic Timber Wolf for one day on set for a dream sequence. Odin didn't like the 100+ degree Chicago weather, so we had to cut most of his performance. See more »


Remade as Starving Artist Beatdown (2014) See more »

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User Reviews

No pain - a pleasant surprise!
15 January 2009 | by (Clearwater, FL) – See all my reviews

As a fan of independent film, I have screened the work of plenty of hopeful young artists, looking for some attention and a chance to make a living at something they love. Just by sheer odds, there are going to be a good number of stinkers in the bunch, but also some genuine surprises. "The Art of Pain" happened to be one of the latter.

Jack is an aspiring illustrator and painter who bides his time in a minimum wage movie theater job with his friend Nick and girlfriend Sharon. The arrival of a new employee, Marcus, creates chaos for everyone, particularly Jack, who Marcus adopts in a twisted attempt at creating his own legacy.

"The Art of Pain" takes its inspiration straight from the world of B-movies. A lot of movies like to ape martial arts and zombie film conventions, but most of them forget to build some character and story in to keep your interest beyond cheap thrills. The story of the slacker artist is also overdone by young filmmakers, but this version brings a new thematic twist with Marcus, an antagonist who is actually seeking to leave his creative mark on the world just like the hero, Jack. The result is a movie that delivers some fun through in its winking nods to genre, but not at the expense of the characters and a building plot.

Not to say "The Art of Pain" is a perfect film. It might benefit from slight trimming and some newbie mistakes stick out for those who watch movies relentlessly. The performances are above average for this kind of low budget film, but some are broad and others are more subtle.

The film is incredibly ambitious in terms of visual design. The opening sequence is a tribute to kung-fu films made to look vintage (a la "Grindhouse"). Marcus seems to ride in out of a 50s biker film, complete with a rear-projection backdrop. There is at least one elaborate visual effects-driven montage, and also a fun little sequence featuring creature illustrations that move among people. Some might be distracted by the variety, and the work isn't always perfect, but it's encouraging to see a first feature that understands the language of film visuals.

But in the world of independent film-making, I believe it all comes back to character and story, and the makers of "The Art of Pain" already have a good understanding of how these things affect audiences. I am eagerly anticipating the follow-up to this one.

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