5.7/10
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493 user 179 critic

Velvet Buzzsaw (2019)

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2:40 | Trailer
A satire set in the contemporary art world scene of Los Angeles, where big money artists and mega-collectors pay a high price when art collides with commerce.

Director:

Dan Gilroy

Writer:

Dan Gilroy
Reviews
Popularity
1,761 ( 240)

Step Inside 'Velvet Buzzsaw'

At Sundance 2019, filmmaker Dan Gilroy and members of his Velvet Buzzsaw cast cut to the core of the Netflix thriller — and Gilroy's connection with star Rene Russo.

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1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jake Gyllenhaal ... Morf Vandewalt
Rene Russo ... Rhodora Haze
Zawe Ashton ... Josephina
Tom Sturridge ... Jon Dondon
Toni Collette ... Gretchen
Natalia Dyer ... Coco
Daveed Diggs ... Damrish
John Malkovich ... Piers
Billy Magnussen ... Bryson
Alan Mandell Alan Mandell ... Dease
Mig Macario ... Cloudio
Nitya Vidyasagar ... Gita
Sedale Threatt Jr. ... Ed
Keith Bogart ... Husband at Art Basel Will Call
Sofia Toufa ... Wife at Art Basel Will Call
Edit

Storyline

A satire set in the contemporary art world scene of Los Angeles, where big money artists and mega-collectors pay a high price when art collides with commerce.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

All art is dangerous. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence, language, some sexuality/nudity and brief drug use | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

1 February 2019 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Velvet Buzzsaw See more »

Filming Locations:

Santa Clarita, California, USA See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Netflix See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Atmos

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Loosely resembles the life of Henry Darger, who too was a recluse that created a prodigious volume of artistic work which was celebrated posthumously, and who also spent some time in an asylum. Darger is largely known as an outsider artist, much as Dease is in the film. See more »

Goofs

Several characters are seen smoking in the galleries. This is a major breach of etiquette in the art world and likely against laws regarding smoking in public (filmed in Miami, there is a Florida statute banning public smoking). See more »

Quotes

Morf Vandewalt: The admiration I had for your work has completely evaporated.
See more »

Crazy Credits

During the first part of the credits, Piers is creating art in the sand. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Month in Movies: February 2019 (2019) See more »

Soundtracks

Keep It Left
Written by Martyn Zub and Una Eggerts
Performed by GirlvBoy
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Interesting Premise, Uninteresting Movie
3 February 2019 | by fpcholcombSee all my reviews

Simply put Velvet Buzzsaw is a mess. It lacks any genuine horror, comedy, or drama and feels cheap and schlocky, and not in the good b-movie horror way.

This one stung because when I first heard of this film I thought it was right up my alley. The faux intellectualism and aggressive monetization that surrounds the high art world is something worthy of parody, but this movie gets so lost in its message and meanders around several poorly written characters, essentially wasting its interesting premise on a below average, generically shot bit of schlock. It brings nothing to the table and fails to live up to the standards set by its contemporaries and even the directors past work.

The characters presented here are lacking in about every respect. One of the things that really excited me about this movie was the massive amount of talent it employed, but even a lively performance from the likes of Gyllenhaal could not mask the fact that the writing was just not up to snuff. What exposition and backstory we get on this miserable bunch of narcissistic artistes is sparse and told rather than shown through slow interactions within art galleries and avant garde offices. Perhaps it was an artistic choice to paint these characters who leech of the creative works of others as banal but it prevented me from ever getting invested in them. Thus, not only were the inevitable horror scenes that followed the character introductions were completely void of any proper scares or interesting creatures, but they also lacked any proper victims.

Moreover, the editing was choppy and scenes did not always flow logically from one to the other. There was a surprising lack of interesting camera angles or dark and brooding shots that could have been used to cultivate horror in the viewer (with the exception of a scene involving a gas station and monkeys). Velvet Buzzsaw's presentation lacked a certain definitiveness and style that the directors earlier work had possessed. It ends up looking rather uninspired. There was some aggressively unappealing use of green screen too, especially apparent during a waterfront chat between an agent and a up and coming street artist (I can't even remember there names they left so little an impression). The movie looks so fake and cheap, which I suppose in a way fit the character and dialogue quality.

Apart from its blatant ant-art profiteering message the movie seems to translate nothing effectively, and the overall weight of what it tries to say is diminished by its shortcomings. The actor's do what they can here, they are the only redeemable aspect of Velvet Buzzsaw, but an artist is only as good as his or her tools, and they were given very little to work with here.

Definitely Avoid.


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