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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Drama > Art School Confidential (Comedy)

Art School Confidential (Comedy)


Picture: B-     Sound: C+     Extras: C     Film: B-



The Cinema of Terry Zwigoff has been an interesting one for a while.  It is always the world of people in the underside of America which is no longer so hidden, with a slight sense of existential angst (even in the blatantly crude and commercial Bad Santa) that almost grounds the stories in reality.  There is also a sense of everyone being a performer not unlike in Kubrick films, though it is more explicit in his work, so Art School Confidential (2005) is the most explicit addressing of this to date.


The film centers on Jerome (Max Minghella) and his obsession with becoming the greatest artist ever, no matter what.  This is sidetracked by all the geeks and pretentious would-be artists he comes across, an eccentric teacher (John Malkovich) and a girl he has fallen for (Sophie Miles) named Audrey.  She starts to become interested in a painter (Matt Kesslar) who is competition, but things get wackier for everyone when a killer surfaces on campus!


Though never contrived, the film falls shorts of possibilities and expectations as some plot points become convoluted, conclusion lame and pop culture references not so clever.  Daniel Clowes wrote the screenplay that is not smug, but not as savvy at he thinks it is.  One way Zwigoff’s characters have been thought of as is in the “losers” category, though it is funny how that is never totally defined anywhere.


Also, the film never forcibly tries to be hip and the actors are good, but ultimately, once things become too involved in plot mechanics, any personal stories taper off and what could possibly have been a great film falls far too short of its potential.


The anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X 1 image looks good as shot by cinematographer Jamie Anderson, A.S.C., with good color, moments of detail and smooth editing.  Though not perfect, it convincingly lives up to the claim that it is “Mastered in High Definition” as the case states.  The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix is more laid back as it is a dialogue-based film and most of the action is in the front speakers.  The combination is good.  Extras include blooper reel, deleted scenes, trailers, Sundance featurette and a making of featurette.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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