The Insightful Satire of ‘Velvet Buzzsaw’ is Lost Behind its Broad Brushstrokes

You have to give it to Netflix – I’m not sure another studio would’ve had the guts to fund a film as original and ridiculous as Velvet Buzzsaw. Part satire-part supernatural slasher flick, Nightcrawler director Dan Gilroy reunites with Jake Gyllenhaal and Rene Russo to make a mockery of the LA art scene. It’s a world that’s ripe for parody, from the money-hungry agents to the pretentious critics and the assistants trying to get a foot in the door. There’s a lot of material to cover – and that might just be the problem.

UNTITLED DAN GILROY FILM

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NYFF ‘18 Review: ‘Wildlife’ is a Family Portrait Without Judgement

Children see themselves and their parents as parts of a single whole we call family. Some children realise later in life, as adults, the individuality of the parts that make up the family. In other cases, they’re forced to realise this when the whole collapses. A child is in one of the most helpless states they can be when they have to watch that collapse, witnessing everything that’ll contribute to the outcome that they somehow know is about to happen. A child cannot choose sides between two people who they once thought were a whole, and as we watch Wildlife through the eyes of a child in the middle of a collapsing marriage, director Paul Dano asks us, very delicately, not to choose sides either.

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