A Review of Velvet Buzzsaw: What did I just watch?

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A still from Netflix film Velvet Buzzsaw

This weekend, I decided to try out another Netflix film. I saw some horrible reviews of a new movie, “Velvet Buzzsaw,” on social media and thought I should judge the film for myself. It couldn’t be that bad, could it?

Oh, yes. Yes, it definitely could.

To give the film some credit, there was a fairly star studded cast – Jake Gyllenhaal plays art critic Morf Vanderwalt and Natalia Dyer plays Coco – but even that didn’t help. The film’s premise follows a largely pretentious art-type crowd that basically steals an old dead man’s art and sells it for their own profit, which results in supernaturally dire consequences for all involved.

The thriller aspect of the film was actually pretty suspenseful, and there were moments were I was intrigued, waiting for what would happen next – but overall, the plot was jumbled and fell flat. The supernatural aspect of the movie was interesting and pretty well done, but the dialog was cheesy, the acting monotonous and boring and the uncomfortable pretentiousness surrounding the whole entity of the cinematic vision was a little too much.

At the beginning of the movie the whimsical music and bright scenery leads one to believe they’re in for a kind of cutesy, artistic indie film – but the first few words from Jake Gyllenhaal’s beautiful lips really ruins it for the viewer. They’re choppy, cheesy and excessively arrogant, which makes one immediately hate his character. Morf ends up being a fairly okay guy at the end of the film, but he suffers his supernatural consequence, like everyone in the movie does.

Perhaps the overly pretentious vibes and ending of the movie is supposed to signify something about human arrogance and vision, but honestly I didn’t understand it, much like many of the characters claim not to understand the art showcased in the film.

The pace of the film was clunky, shuffling from scene to scene with what felt like no closure – and the reasoning behind most of the film’s events wasn’t explained – except in a mere two minutes that were almost missed because I was starting to check out mid-movie. My attention wasn’t truly held until the last thirty or so minutes, which arguably, is a decent artistic move to enthrall an audience, but the suspense wasn’t enough to cover the flatness and one-dimensionality of the other hour of the movie.

The last thing that might bother a viewer is that the title in almost no way corresponds to the film – besides that fact that in the first minute or so of the movie the art gallery owner talks about her Velvet Buzzsaw tattoo on her neck – but why the tattoo was relevant is not made clear.

Maybe I just didn’t understand the vision of the director, but it could’ve been made better. It definitely could’ve been better. I didn’t hate the movie, I just felt disappointed and like I had wasted a good portion of my life. Maybe this is the same feeling one has when looking at really crappy art, and this may have been the intention of the movie all along. Who knows? I’m sure none of the audience does.

Photo courtesy of Netflix

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