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Netflix original 'Velvet Buzzsaw' tells us how commerce and greed are killing the art industry.

‘What to watch next?’ is a serious question!

I, personally, watch movies or series based on what day of the week it is, what time of he day it is and most importantly depending on the mood. Earlier last week a colleague at office recommended us ‘Velvet Buzzsaw’, one of the Netflix originals. The movie, he said, is a blend of art- horror- comedy. Now that is not a very usual combination which is why I was curious about watching it.



Netflix original ‘Velvet Buzzsaw’ has an interesting cast - Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo and Zawe Ashton. This is a type of movie you would want to finish in one go because though the plots are predictable, you want to know if that’s what the writer has planned. Internet has mixed reviews about this, but I believe that it is important to look into it from the writers and directors point of view. You can never judge a piece of art or literature as good or bad. That's kind of what we are planning to do at the art residency project next month by bringing creative individuals of all segments and skill-sets on one level where they experience a healthy atmosphere to grow without any judgement.





Velvet Buzzsaw shows the destructive nature of greed. Everyone who rushes after making money from a dead man’s art has to pay the price for it. The end is a celebration of nature and Art as its handmaiden. Ego vs Art is an eternal theme. The movie sort of knows what it wants to be, but what it wants to be seems designed to fail on some level. It’s a concept that demands inconsistency and satire as clunky as much of the art that lines the gallery walls in this film.


The movie starts with art critic Morf, played by Jake Gyllenhaal, criticizing the art installations and paintings at the exhibition.There is one thing which connects the start and end - Hoboman which is a robot installation - who says ‘I can’t save you’ when Morf tells that he finds it uninteresting.This is a mystery you will have to solve once you watch the movie.


For its first half, Velvet Buzzsaw hits all its marks in exposing this strange little world for all its hollowness and hypocrisies. Art isn’t art, it’s merely another commodity to force rich people to bid over until the winner writes enough zeroes on their cheque. Nobody seems to have any real opinions on any of the paintings or sculptures or installments that they’re all desperate to buy. Tastes are driven by what everyone else is thinking, but nobody really seems to be doing any real thinking.




The movie shows how rich people rule the art market and get things done their way. There are art brokers, art advisers, artists, gallery owners, art critics who play important role rather overpowering the person behind creation.If you are an artist, you will notice it is important to make decisions regarding where your art is put up, how is it sold, and who manages it. This is a responsibility which comes with a lot of trust and dedication.


Dease is an artist whose past reflects through the nature of his paintings which are mildly disturbing and gothic. This is very much true of how an artwork is an interpretation of the creators mind a lot of times. One of his paintings even has his blood, which is why I believe it haunts whoever tries to use his work with wrong intentions. Quickly, the “outsider art” becomes the most coveted new work in town, but as the paintings become more famous, they also come with a body count. As Rhodora admits at one point, “All art is dangerous.”


The great writer Kafka attempted to burn all of his works because of the ego train it left. Glad he did not and this is the conundrum. Velvet Buzzsaw is a brilliant piece just look beyond the ego boundaries that the film itself creates in the viewer.


Jake Gyllenhaal as Morf in Velvet Buzzsaw, One of Netflix originals.

The film is less effective as a supernatural thriller. Its gimmick is nothing that horror fans won't have seen before, and the scary scenes to which the characters are subjected isn't particularly inventive. What makes it interesting, really, is the juxtaposition of some of these horror clichés and the rest of Velvet Buzzsaw's satirical art-film quality. It is a slightly weird and watchable movie, nothing you will fall in love with.


This movie invokes a sense to find purpose behind the art you create! I hope you have it figured out.


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