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MicroReview: Velvet Buzzsaw (2019)

After a series of paintings by an unknown artist are discovered, a supernatural force enacts revenge on those who have allowed their greed to get in the way of art.


It's hard to complain about the idea behind Velvet Buzzsaw. It's a solid premise: An artist dies leaving a set of instructions that his art be destroyed after his death, only for some shady art dealers to get hold of it and start selling it... but it's haunted art.

However. The issue that I had with the film was the elongated damning satire on the art world itself - which far out plays the horror movie elements of the film. Listed as a horror / mystery / thriller is a terrible representation of the film. It is more aptly a "dark drama". The trailer is cut to be a horror, but sadly shows sections of nearly all of the horror scenes in the film. I would say that effectively there is little more than 15 minutes of horror in this near 2 hour film.

The film itself is extremely well made. Writer / director, Dan Gilroy (Nightcrawler) does a fantastic job of bringing his vision to the screen. The direction is spot on - shots are amazingly chosen, it's smooth. Unflawed. The writing is clever - the portrayal of these horrible, horrible people is fantastic. I loved it. The cast is superb - Jake Gyllenhaal (Donnie Darko), Zawe Ashton (Nocturnal Animals), and too many more to mention are excellent.

It's just terribly mis-sold, and the horror elements don't work well. The deaths aren't really shown. Which was strange. They are also, by the way, nearly all in the trailer.

It's a well made film and worth watching, it's just made for a target audience that didn't get targeted.

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