As art dealers scheme to steal each others artists and strive to discover the next big thing in order to secure their next big payday, climber Josephina (Zawe Ashton, Nocturnal Animals) discovers an apartment full of art. Although the artist, Vetril Dease, left strict instructions for his work to be destroyed upon his death, Josephina steals his work in order to make a name for herself and of course, a quick buck. The trailer contains spoilers so view at your own discretion.
A series of unfortunate deaths perpetrated by works of art, start to claim the lives of all those who stand to profit from Dease’s work. Karma is one entertaining bitch.
As fun as jump scares and inventive deaths are, Velvet Buzzsaw’s critique of the art industry is just as engaging. A scene in which John Malkovich’s character brings an art dealer to his studio to view his new work epitomizes the film.
Rene Russo’s Rhodora Haze is particularly pretentious and duplicitous, the art world’s answer to Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep’s character in The Devil Wears Prada). Her fate is particularly apropos. (Spoiler) Thinking she can save herself by removing all the art from her home, she disregards the images inked on her own body. A remnant of her past, she probably doesn’t even consider it art.
Velvet Buzzsaw has a strong cast and Dan Gilroy (Nightcrawler) has provided them with clever, sometimes biting dialogue. As Gyllenhaal, Russo, Ashton, Toni Collette (United States of Tara) and Tom Sturridge (Sweetbitter) spout pompous opinions and plot their own advancement, you can’t help but feel a bit of glee at their ultimate demise.
You paid what?
As much as art deserves respect, Velvet Buzzsaw does not shy away from the ridiculousness that plagues the art world. It’s understandable how a Picasso or Rembrandt can sell for millions as their work was groundbreaking and has historical significance. Of course art is subjective, but why did this painting sell for 46.5 million in 2015?
I’m no expert, but I am pretty sure this is not groundbreaking or historically significant work. Yes the artist, Mark Rothko is deceased, which as we know often increases the value of the artist’s work, but 46.5 million?
Art should not just belong to the elite. It’s a strange dichotomy. Art is undervalued by the education system in America where art programs are the first to be cut, seen as expendable when budget issues arise. Yet people will pay millions for a yellow and blue rectangle. Wouldn’t it be nice if art lovers invested in education and endowments rather than colored rectangles?
“Anna’s Light” by Barnett Newman, sold for $105.7 Million.