The question here is can you say something about the nature of artists and art by peeing all over everything? I don’t usually get scatological until paragraph three or so but I’ll hope you’ll humor me as this is a failing grade for a movie no one will ever see. I think I’m allowed come creative license on these types of death projects. With my newly acquired license I’d like to impart to you that Art School Confidential is humming along fine until it loses control and goes number one all over itself and everyone around it. Not cool, ASC, not cool.
The story of the movie is of young Jerome, (Max Minghella) a young burgeoning artist who doesn’t feel at home in any setting until he heads off to Art School. It’s there he encounters John Malkovich as a professor and Sophia Myles as a muse. Let me state for the record that both Malkovich and Miles work for me both as actors and aesthetically too. Miles in particular is really quite vexing on camera and I hope she finds fare better than this and the Isolde role very soon (review of Isolde here). Anyway, the plot is a fish out of water thrown back into water and there are laughs and learning all around at first. Then the wheels fall off, the axle grinds into the ground and hits oil while also creating a spark that sets everything on fire right before crashing into the orphanage that the nuns are visiting that day (presumably to give a dying child his wish of coitus).
Many films receive F’s because they start terrible and end worse. Art School Confidential is a bird of another color, a wholly more terrible color; it starts good and then falls right off a cliff. The first 45 minutes had me interested and alert, perky like a cheerleader’s intellects when BOOM. There went the dynamite. I’m going to do something I rarely do in reviews which is give away a specific scene. I’m doing this because I want you to leave once the scene is over, it’s truly the last moment of the flick that is enjoyable and you’ll be a much happier and fulfilled person for taking the last hour of Art School Confidential off. Don’t thank me, it’s my job. Once Jerome tends bar at an art gallery you can leave the film. He’ll be dressed in a red jacket and he’ll look forlorn. Leave then and don’t look back no matter what. The horror that’s about to unfurl on screen shouldn’t be seen by human eyes. Or hell, even dog eyes. Keep Sparky at home and out of this one.
After the “time to leave” scene the movie shifts tone in a major way and decides to go the cliche/ tired/ el stupido route. It is not an entertaining move. Art School Confidential morphs from a social commentary comedic love story flick into a poop-tastic hyper clever murder mystery film. It is not a pleasing thing to watch play out, the soul of a movie ripped out and replaced by mad-libs style second act. BLANK is the killer and so on.
A friend of mine suggested that perhaps they got to a point in the filming where they were stuck and solicited input from the crew. Or maybe they had to turn in the script and only had six furtive minutes in a bathroom left to finish it. Whatever the excuse they probably should have just skipped the assignment and flushed the thing instead.