I have very strange standards when it comes to movies about art. And this one was a movie I couldn't get into. Very boring and low-key and pretentiously artsy. The characters were easy enough to like, but I ultimately didn't care about them. For those who've seen Boogie Woogie here's a different version of it.
Our protagonist is a musician, he is terrifically talented at playing classical piano, but he seems to despise his talent. Instead he composes sound art; kicking buckets, clarinet jabs, howling, leather pants squeaking. Make no mistake, he composes it, to meter and rhythm, they perform for audiences of 7. Until one woman loves them. She owns an art gallery, where she shows, ultra-modern art. It's the equivalent of his sound-art, one of the artists makes art out of dead animals. Another artist, the new big find, has a piece called white wall. It's just what you think it is. Push-pin, bears a close resemblance to white wall, its easy to see the evolution the artist has taken. I'm being cheeky, but so is the movie. He doesn't sell pieces of art, he sells the materials and instruciton manuals, that come with a certificate of authenticity.
The gallery is supported by selling this commercial art of an artist named Josh, his stuff is the kind of splotchy dot stuff that hangs in hospital lobbies. She won't show him in the gallery. He thinks he's a deep artist, constantly reinventing himself. She doesn't show commercial art, only avant-garde stuff. And our composer hero, he is commissioned to perform at the White Wall gallery showing. He's to compose and perform some sound art. He refuses. He doesn't see how a post-it note on a wall is art. He also doesn't get how people don't understand his noise is art. Seeing the inconsistency here?
He argues that everything is art, the way you differentiate between art and noise is art is wanted. Beethovens 5th is noise if you dont want to hear it. A fascinating point of view, and not altogether dismissable. Art collectors collect art, more than they have room to show in their apartment, it's all in a back room, it's the collecting that's important, not the art. To be in on it, to matter. We see the full impotence of the art world, but the characters seem so steadfast in their belief, its almost enough to convince you.
The actors are great, especially Vinnie Jones as the eccentric dead animal artist. He should do more stuff like this. More stuff where he makes facial expressions. It suits him. We see artists grapple with the need for financial security, selling out, sacrificing the purity of your art for some much needed money. Defending yourself as a serious artist when your art is considered lightweight. I wonder if Michael Bay and Joel Schumacher can relate? And, even more intriguing, all of the art produced by these wacky artist the movie is skewering (and this is proof its more than parody) is real art produced by real renowned modern artists. In a world of Banksy and Enter Through the Gift Shop, and F for Fake, we find the art world to be intrinsically interesting, full of thought-provoking questions.
Is it music to conduct total silence?
(Untitled) is an absurd, entertaining mixture of a comedy, a romantic comedy, a drama, and a satire of the New York art scene (and some modern art in general, I suppose). It caught my eye because of the presence of Marley Shelton and Lucy Punch, two underrated and really hot actresses that I make a habit of checking out in every movie I can, but it turned out to be a worthwhile movie, beyond their presence.
The two main characters are Adrian (Adam Goldberg), a bohemian experimental musician (think kicking buckets and ripping paper), and Madeline (Marley Shelton), a gallery owner who sells the commercial work of Adrian's brother to keep her gallery open, while only allowing more avant-garde pieces to be shown there. Madeline finds herself drawn to Adrian's unconventional sensibilities, but conflict eventually arises between the two when Madeline's eccentric clients don't meet Adrian's ideas of what art should be.
(Untitled) is funniest when showcasing the "artwork" of its supporting characters, including Ray Park as an artist who uses taxidermy in a unique way, and Zak Orth in a small but absolutely scene-stealing role.
I think you probably have to be familiar with, or at least aware of, the modern art scene to see the appeal of (Untitled). It's not a hard film to get your head around, or anything like that, but it does get its humor from situations and jokes that may not have appeal for everyone. I thought it was quite amusing, though, and I recommend that anyone who finds the idea interesting, gives it a try.