On Feb. 1, Netflix released Velvet Buzzsaw, the third directorial effort from Dan Gilroy, following the 2014 psychological thriller Nightcrawler and the 2017 biopic Roman J. Israel, Esq. Reteaming with Jake Gyllenhaal and Rene Russo, Gilroy returns to the genre of his first feature, mixed with elements of horror and slasher films. Gyllenhaal plays Morf Vandewalt, an art critic and curator in Los Angeles. After the work of a recently deceased artist emerges, the high art community, including Morf, scrambles to acquire the work, only for it to prove supernatural and murderous towards those who had valued their own greed over the art itself. John Malkovich, Natalia Dyer of "Stranger Things" fame, and Toni Collette, fresh off her stunning performance in last year’s Hereditary, round off the tremendous cast. While Roman J. Israel, Esq. went largely unseen, hopefully Velvet Buzzsaw marks a return to the zeitgeist for Gilroy, whose freshman film Nightcrawler garnered much attention throughout the film community. Netflix has notoriously buried some great films, which lie hidden under a seemingly bottomless pit of content, such as Cary Fukunaga’s Beasts of No Nation and, I would argue, the previously alluded to The Ballad of Buster Scruggs from the Coen Brothers. Hopefully this promising film will not suffer the same fate. Netflix has made quite the effort to push Roma on its site in the quest for Oscar gold; surely, the suits at the company will similarly advertise Velvet Buzzsaw, focused on celebrating the art of the feature rather than its core content.
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