Movie Reviews
About Me


Current Reviews
Four-Star Movies

Art School Confidential (2006): **

Directed by Terry Zwigoff

I loved every scene in this movie that featured John Malkovich. See, I went to art school myself, and so I found a lot of humor in his portrayal of a self-important instructor at an art college. Unfortunately, I simply could not connect to the rest of the movie.

There are a lot of funny parts in this movie. There are a lot of funny characters. There are a lot of witty insights into the insane world of professional art. But for some reason it just didn't connect with me, which is a real shame because it was directed by the director of Ghost World, and written by Daniel Clowes, who wrote the Ghost World comic and co-wrote the Ghost World screenplay. So what went wrong?

It's really hard for me to put my finger on it, which is frustrating for me as a movie reviewer. I think the two main problems are with the direction and the casting of the main character.

At times it seemed like Zwigoff filmed this movie as a rollicking comedy, but then in post-production tried to make it into a serious drama, and at other times the exact opposite. The pacing felt awkward, like I kept on being thrown out of the film.

And young Max Minghella's performance as the main character was even more inscrutable and unfathomable than Eric Bana's performance as Bruce Banner in Hulk. I simply found his character impossible to relate to, even when he was involved in situations that I found intimately relatable (due to the fact that, as I said, I also went to college for art). The character made sudden and inexplicable shifts in emotion, and made strange decisions that left me shaking my head.

I also had some problems with the supporting characters, mostly with the main character's roommates. Why did he need two? What purpose did the fashion designer roommate serve in the film? He wasn't even that funny, just a couple of stock gay jokes. I found the film student roommate to be much more funny, but I still wasn't sure what purpose he served in the film.

I get what Clowes and Zwigoff were trying to do with this film, but I just don't think they pulled it off successfully. Much like Terry Gilliam's Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas, I thought many individual moments of this movie were absolutely great, but in the end it didn't really add up.

[back] [top] [current reviews] [archives]