Velvet Buzzsaw ★★½

A satirical thriller set in the inane world of Los Angeles’ contemporary art scene, Dan Gilroy’s deliriously garish “Velvet Buzzsaw” is a film that’s every bit as shiny and hollow as those colorful balloon animals that Jeff Koons has sold for millions of dollars. It’s a dull-witted joke about the violent relationship between art and commerce, and the punchline is that it’s therefore the Platonic ideal of a Netflix movie.

Nothing could better define the industry-devouring studio (or its prolific motion picture output) than a star-studded cautionary tale about the fatal danger of assigning value to an abstract thing. Not only is “Velvet Buzzsaw” the kind of batshit insane, fiercely uncommercial gif-factory of a movie that only Netflix could make, it’s also blood-soaked propaganda for a streaming platform where every piece of art has an equal price. Where a magnum opus like “Roma” is effectively worth the same as a comedy about a kid who gets his dick cut off. Where something like “Bird Box” can become the most popular movie in the world on the strength of its memes. Where a disembodied marketplace requires no box office, no taste, and no one to mourn for all of the artists whose work is consigned to the void by the all-mighty algorithm that rules us all.

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