The Disaster Artist. Film Review.

Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * * * *

Cast: James Franco, Dave Franco, Seth Rogen, Ari Graynor, Alison Brie, Jacki Weaver, Paul Scheer, Zac Efron, Josh Hutcherson, June Diane Raphael, Megan Mullally, Jason Mantzouskas, Andrew Santino, Nathan Fielder, Joe Mande, Sharon Stone, Melanie Griffith, Bob Odenkirk, Kelly Oxford, Bryan Cranston.

Art and life, not so much imitators in the scheme of the mysteries of the Universe, more like an impression that is far short of being appreciated at the time but somehow, with persistence, becomes one person’s crowning glory. The cynical laughter that accompanies one endeavour is soon replaced by a grudging acceptance that someone had the guts to do what they wanted to do, and even if they looked foolish, if they made others cringe initially by the way the way they set out to achieve their goals; it is to these valiant individuals to whom we owe more than we realise.

The Room is universally acknowledged as one of the worst films ever produced and yet it has more humanity thrust into it than some of the mediocre, also-rans that often clog up the cinema screens for weeks on end. Films designed to pander to audience, movies that are there to sell a franchise and pull in money via marketing, these are the ones in which should at times be treated with more contempt for they are not doing it for the art, they are there solely to keep business as business.

To undertake the story of how The Room came about, to see it in its context of a person’s life, a desire overriding talent and experience, then The Disaster Artist is arguably one of the finest moments on screen in which to see that premise unfold.

Based upon the story of the then unknown and still to this day mysterious Tommy Wiseau’s notorious but highly effective rise to ignominy and then sublime cult status amongst film fans, The Disaster Artist is an achievement in itself for those involved. To want, to feel passionately the pull of recreating a moment which could have sank many careers, is a huge endorsement of the way the public should not see art expressed as a final bank balance sheet but for the soul, no matter how tortured, no matter how flattering to one’s own ego, of the person who believes that to even capture the heart of one person outweighs any monetary consideration that may be pursued.

In James Franco the spirit of that endeavour is to be passionately and sincerely believed, as Tommy Wiseau he finds a way to make the man’s voice even more impressive than it was originally. It does not matter that The Room is considered poor, what matters is how it makes people see life, that even in a million people laughing at the unintentional, hope can arise, it is better to have made something that will be talked about forever than to be part of a mildly successful venture that everybody will forget within six months.

A beautiful homage to a piece of art once considered a humiliation but in its own shame has become a distinctive smile in which to savour.

Ian D. Hall