For me, making movie reviews is going against the nature of what I love. The “trashy B” movie is stereotypically filled with too much gore or it has no real story. I have to be judgmental towards this type of film and I can’t just take mirth in the awfulness before me. Velvet Buzzsaw fits in that movie category so well as Netflix continues to bring viewers movies that don’t need to be watched.
In the art world everything hinges on the next big thing that will sell. Velvet Buzzsaw shows the world what happens to those that truly love money over anything else. Without giving away too much I can safely say this movie justly kills off those characters who become cruel and evil. Velvet Buzzsaw starts off with Morf Vandewalt (Jake Gyllenhaal), an unhappy art reviewer looking for more in his life. While at an art exhibit in Miami he begins a romantic relationship with Josephina (Zawe Ashton) who just found out her boyfriend was cheating on her. Josephina also works for Rhodora Haze (Rene Russo) – a former punk rocker turned art gallery owner.
After the exhibit we find everyone back home in Los Angeles. No one was harmed in Miami except for the relationship Morf had with his boyfriend, Ed. You find out that Ed has been doing some pretty awful things behind Morf’s back at the end of the movie. So with that in mind, Josephina is reprimanded by Rhodora in Los Angeles for being late. The reason for this time was that Josephina found her neighbor dead in the hallway. That neighbor was a painter known in the film as Ventril Dease. Inside of Ventril’s creepy and cluttered apartment were numerous paintings and drawings created by him. She takes those paintings even though everything was supposed to be destroyed.
This is the point in the plot that I’m done explaining the steps in the story. This is also where the spirit starts to take the lives that deal with his art work and at this point the movie starts to jump around. The story gets jumbled and lost in the way the movie was filmed. Josephina’s relationship with Morf feels like it was only days old. Velvet Buzzsaw’s story feels like a jigsaw puzzle being forced together by the director.
Velvet Buzzsaw is a vibrant movie when it comes to deaths in the film. Some of the moments right before a characters death is filmed so perfectly that you wouldn’t think the rest of the movie has problems. That’s actually where the rest of the movie starts to become convoluted and strange. The biggest problem I had with this film is the pacing. One moment Josephina has a small little apartment on her measly wages. In the next scene we see her and Morf having sex in this stupendous apartment that costs way too much money. We don’t get a sense of time with this scene. Is it one day that she magically moved into a better apartment? The whole film jumps around so much that once you get comfortable with one idea the director jumps to another with nothing that connects the two.
It’s painful to think that this is the best vision Dan Gilroy had when he made this movie. We rush through this almost two hour movie that we never really get a connection with the characters.
Jake Gyllenhaal and Renee Russo were perfect for their roles and the rest of the cast almost makes the movie watchable. They both play their characters the best possible way they can and I couldn’t see these characters played by anyone else. Without spoiling much, it takes a long time for Zawe Ashton’s character to be killed off. So long in fact I was hoping it was her every time the movie thought it was going to try and be scary. She plays the character of Josephina like a confused, spoiled child. Nothing she seems to be portraying seems to work in this role. These are those moments that the casting director failed at. They should have picked someone with more experience in film and less in the world of live theater.
Part of the cast included John Malkovich, Daveed Digs,Toni Collette, and Natalia Dyer (Stranger Things). These four weave in and out of the movie and you don’t want them to die yet it wouldn’t ruin the movie if they do. In fact, Toni Collette’s character – Gretchen – has one of more interesting moments in the film. For the most part the cast works in a way that Velvet Buzzsaw would have been fantastic if only the film had the right pacing.
Netflix has released another movie that will hated by most critics. The movies pacing is just awful and the director should go back and re-edit this film. It could be a great movie that would started a new horror series on Netflix. The pacing of the movie really just makes me so sick. I loved so many things in this movie that I’m sad to say most people should just avoid it unless they have a lot of free time in a few months. Don’t rush to see this movie unless you feel the need to see Jake Gyllenhaal partially naked. I do think this movie is so much better than that mess called IO.