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Art School's misanthropy is too sour, its targets too flat and cliched, and Clowes and Zwigoff stumble when trying to build a story around the premise.
All Critics (136)
| Top Critics (38)
| Fresh (49)
| Rotten (87)
| DVD (7)
Curiously, this relentlessly cynical tone turns out sounding refreshingly original compared to the usual pieties in the genre.
No matter which is the real imitator, life or art, Art School Confidential does its own fine job skewering both.
The film loses its way with multiple subplots, becoming a hodgepodge that isn't particularly hard to follow, but, far worse, provides no compelling reason to bother.
A movie with the odd, tired joke about art and artists, a college romance that isn't romantic, and a plot twist that doesn't twist at all.
Zwigoff's angry exposé of this intense, tiny subculture isn't fair to anyone in the art world, but if you can stomach the overstatement, it's often scathingly funny. And it's sometimes scathingly smart.
What keeps the film from being altogether snide and smug are the well-intentioned performances.
Art School Confidential starts out as a great movie that eventually devolves into a pretty good one.
Cynical and raunchy comedy for adults only.
It's a shame that the film's main impetus turns out to be focused on such a pedestrian and predictable plot.
Messy, squalidly funny
Director Terry Zwigoff presents a scathing satire of art school student existence but derails the movie, about a talented young artist (well-played by Max Minghella), with an artificial sub-plot about a campus serial killer.
Unfortunately, the tender observations Zwigoff and Clowes specialize in are largely missing from Art School Confidential, which spends its energy on the zany people who'd usually pepper the edges of their films.
Man, I wanted to like this skewering of the exploiters who claim to teach art, but the filmmakers didn't trust their own instincts enough, their own vision ... and so added some lame-o bit about a murderer on campus to "liven things up". Too bad. Nonetheless, their are some good performances, particularly Jim Broadbent as the undiscovered artist gestating in murky void, and Sophia Myles as "the muse" (what else?).
Art School Confidential is a film that is universally panned by many, and appreciated by a small number. The ones who think it's highly aggravating are usually let down by the fact that this was the second collaboration between Terry Zwigoff and Daniel Clowes, who first made the film Ghost World based off Clowes' graphic novel of the same name. Ghost World was disturbing, dark, funny, and full of realism. Art School is much more of a strange commentary on the pretension of art school students. I did like the paradox of what good art is, compared to the fact that good artists are the ones people pay to see. It was a good, insightful look into the politics of the art world, and the tension of the art student, who's only survival is fame, and fame at any cost. I was personally very disappointed at the brand of humor and the lack of follow through on character development. Yes, there are eccentricities, and kookiness to spare, but it is at the expense of the plot and the chemistry between the leads that we must suffer the general annoyances of our main character. I didn't especially hate the main character as many other viewers have in the past, because he's not meant to be personable or empathetic as our protagonist. His fate at the end of the movie is completely believable, even if understandable early in the film. The film has the humor, sexual tension, and lacking characters of the regular slew of indie comedies that sit in the comedy category of the Netflix Instant. There isn't anything new to take away from it, except perhaps a better understanding and appreciation for art and artists, and maybe it will warm your heart to know that this is a love story of sorts. Well, really it's more about obsession and women who would rather be immortalized in paint rather than be a great artist's muse or great love. It's an overly ambitious yet lacking film, and I found it entertaining if not oddly put together.
Cast: Max Minghella, Sophia Myles, Matt Keeslar, John Malkovich, Jim Broadbent, Anjelica Huston, Joel David Moore, Scoot McNairy, Ethan Suplee, Nick Swardson, Adam Scott, Jack Ong, Jeremy Guskin, Monika Ramnath, Isaac Laskin
Director: Terry Zwigoff
Summary: When his pure genius goes ignored and a brainless jock tempts his dream girl (Sophia Myles), ambitious art school student Jerome Platz (Max Minghella) sets in motion a brazen plan to become an art world hero and win his beloved's heart. John Malkovich, Jim Broadbent, Matt Keeslar, Anjelica Huston and Ethan Suplee co-star in Terry Zwigoff's dark comedy about an overachiever who goes to extremes to get the girl.
My Thoughts: "I saw the trailer and was fooled into thinking this was going to be a quirky film with dark humor. Unfortunately all the humor is shown in the trailer and still there isn't nearly enough. I soon became bored with the film and I thought the main character Jerome was annoying and not likable. I love John Malkovich, Steve Buscemi, and I also enjoy Jim Broadbent, but their parts are small and not used nearly enough. The big twist is seen a mile ahead and the ending is how you expect it to end. Definitely something I wouldn't watch again."
An art student pursues a beautiful woman while a killer stalks the student body.
I liked the film's almost oppressively cynical air. Multiple characters remark how the human species should be wiped off the planet, and the art teachers/successful artists pillory the art establishment at will. At the center of the film is an exploration of what art is or should do, and the filmmakers seem to suggest that all answers are wrong.
Also, Sophia Myles is astoundingly beautiful. Her performance is uneven, occasionally the girl next door and occasionally the damaged cynic, but she exudes sexuality effortlessly, and it's easy to understand Jerome's obsession with her.
However, the film is uneven. There is a plot twist that makes little sense, and Jerome's emotional state goes through unexplained peaks and valleys.
Overall, there are flaws in the storytelling, but the film's dark heart is in a unique place, which ultimately makes it worth the time.
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