I was really excited for this movie. Which made it even more disappointing when I watched it, and just could not get into it. I mean it is just a great concept wasted. Art coming to life and killing people is a great base for a horror movie, and the trailer made it look so interesting.
There are some qualities to appreciate for sure. It is a movie about art, and artistry is definitely on exhibit in the movie’s cinematography. There are some truly beautiful shots at work, and the way things are framed is sometimes fascinating. It also has some nice commentary on art itself. Jake Gyllenhaal is fantastic, as he plays a pretentious art snob. Dan Gilroy is a fantastic director, that was evident after he made Nightcrawler. But what this movie lacks, that Nightcrawler had, is an intriguing story.
The story here meanders about and then speeds up to an unsatisfying conclusion. I kept waiting for the pieces of the story to start to come together, and they never really did. I kept waiting for the characters played by John Malkovich and Daveed Diggs to have a purpose for being in the movie, and they never do. John’s character has this arc about being an artist battling addiction and now that he is sober he feels lost and without inspiration. It is an interesting concept, but it goes nowhere, he disappears in the second act, and it never gets tied into the actual story. Daveed plays a young up and coming artist, and that’s all there is to his character. He seems really interested in the art that is causing all the problems, but that never goes anywhere.
Some of the characters who actually do have a purpose are hard to enjoy because they are so inconsistent. Josephina was so unlikable. Well, all the characters are bad people, except for Coco, but Josephina wasn’t even interesting. Her relationship with Jake’s character is frustrating. They invest a lot of time in it, but it is not interesting at all.
The way scenes bleed into each other is so muddy. There were several times where I was legit confused by a scene transition because the prior scene wasn’t actually finished. I’m left thinking “What the hell happened?”
It is poorly paced, and poorly written. I was very hyped for this movie and was left wanting for more. It is a lesson and not always buying into the hype from festivals like Sundance, because it is a different atmosphere, and sometimes it may affect how the people there critique movies. people at festivals seem more likely to praise a movie, than if they are watching it in a normal theater, or at home.
I would say it is worth watching for Jake’s performance alone. But if you saw the trailer, and got excited, maybe temper your expectations.