Netflix had quite a 2018. Fueled largely in part by the zeitgeist-y Bird Box and the wild awards season success of Alfonso Cuaron’s Roma, the streaming giant is as big as ever. With Roma, they’re poised to finally break into the Best Picture lineup at the Oscars too. Now, here in 2019, there’s an expectation that Martin Scorsese’s upcoming The Irishman will be another Academy Award juggernaut. What else could they surprise with, though? Playing this month at the Sundance Film Festival, Velvet Buzzsaw offers an option. A Trailer dropped yesterday morning that makes it something not to be missed. You’ll be able to see it at the end of the piece, but first…some discussion!
The film is a satirical thriller, which is already fairly unique. The official Netflix synopsis is as follows: “Velvet Buzzsaw is a satirical thriller set in the contemporary art world scene of Los Angeles, where big money artists and mega-collectors pay a high price when art collides with commerce.” Similarly, IMDb has this to contribute: “After a series of paintings by an unknown artist are discovered, a supernatural force enacts revenge on those who have allowed their greed to get in the way of art.” Morf Vandewalt (Jake Gyllenhaal) is our protagonist, someone sees his pursuit of art take a drastically dark turn. Dan Gilroy writes and directs, while the high profile supporting cast includes Toni Collette, Daveed Diggs, Natalia Dyer, Pat Healy, Billy Magnussen, John Malkovich, Rene Russo, Tom Sturridge, and more. Robert Elswit provides the cinematography, Marco Beltrami contributes the score, and John Gilroy edits.
From the looks of this mysterious Trailer, the movie seems crazy. Gyllenhaal again looks to be doing something really different here. It’s almost as if Gilroy and Gyllenhaal are taking some of the discomfort that they achieved with Nightcrawler (Russo too, as she co-starred there as well) and are mixing it with things like Hereditary and The Neon Demon. Maybe it all comes together in a glorious orgy of insanity? Maybe it doesn’t work? Both options are equal possibilities. One thing is for sure though…this won’t be a boring film to watch. As a satire, it has a ton of potential. Arty horror sounds perfect for early February. Consider me very intrigued.
Awards wise, it’s very hard to tell how this one will be received. A lot will depend on how things go at the upcoming Sundance Film Festival. Assuming it becomes a horror hit and gets some Oscar traction, Netflix could go all in on it. If so, look for campaigns to be launched in Best Picture, Best Director (for Gilroy), Best Actor (for Gyllenhaal), Best Supporting Actor (for Malkovich), Best Supporting Actress (for Collette and/or Russo), Best Original Screenplay (also for Gilroy), Best Production Design, Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, and Best Original Score. It may be a long shot, but don’t sleep on this one just yet.
You can check out the First Trailer for Velvet Buzzsaw next, and it’s really something. Gilroy, Gyllenhaal, and company do not seem to be holding anything back. Sundance will tell the tale about this one in a few weeks, so be on the lookout for that. Netflix could have something quite unusual on their hands. Regardless of whether it has awards viability or not, it seems poised to be one of the streaming service’s most buzzed about titles when it drops on February 1st. Sit tight for more, but in the meantime, give the Trailer a look and see what you think of the arty horror at hand…
Here now is the Trailer for Velvet Buzzsaw:
Stay tuned for plenty more on Velvet Buzzsaw between now and February!