An interesting but flawed movie.

Art School Confidential comic
Art School Confidential comic

The next film on the list is Art School Confidential, directed by Terry Zwigoff, based on a four page comic book of the same name by Daniel Clowes. The story revolves around a young man called Jerome (Minghella), who enrolls at Strathmore College to study art. He falls for one of the models in his art class. As he learns about art school he also gets introduced to a few people that include a failed artist called Jimmy. At the same time someone is going around strangling people. Jimmy is painting pictures of the stranglers victims. While all this is going on there is also an art exhibition coming up, and Jerome is competing for that plus the affections of Audrey (the model) with a mysterious newcomer to the class called Jonah.

The acting is generally good in this movie. John Malkovich and Angelica Huston are as dependable as ever as two of the teachers at the school. Minghella plays the awkward, shy Jerome really well too.

The script has me split. One the one hand, there are funny moments and decent exchanges between the characters, but on the other I can’t help thinking this was a movie that was 20 minutes too long. Also, if you don’t really know a lot about art, you might be lost for some of the jokes and conversations, but you can hardly blame a film centred around art school for that. The main thing that I really didn’t like about the script was the ending ***SPOILER ALERT*** where the police discover the paintings that Jerome borrowed from Jimmy, with trophies from the victims attached to them. Like nobody, least of all the artists with an eye for detail, which included Jerome, had any idea that there was something up with the paintings? And the police failed to ask Jerome a single question about how he did it, or what times he did it, that would have instantly ruled him out of being the main suspect, and yet he somehow ended up in jail. The whole point to Jerome borrowing the paintings was to win a girl that he still didn’t end up with. It makes zero sense. ****END SPOILER***

I really didn’t like that ending anyway. Maybe there is some artistic explanation for it that I’m missing. Box office wise, this movie failed to make back its budget of £5,000,000. The advert is not that inspiring for it, and upon watching the movie, its actually a pretty standard and largely uninspired movie about people who look for inspiration in things, but with nice direction and a great cast. It even has a cameo from Steve Buscemi, king of the scene stealers. My verdict: Worth a watch but don’t expect to be overly thrilled by anything.

My Score: 42 percent

Movie info from Wikipedia:

Directed by Terry Zwigoff
Produced by Daniel Clowes
John Malkovich

Russell Smith

Lianne Halfon

Screenplay by Daniel Clowes
Based on Art School Confidential
by Daniel Clowes
Starring Max Minghella
Sophia Myles

John Malkovich

Anjelica Huston

Jim Broadbent

Matt Keeslar

Ethan Suplee

Joel David Moore

Music by David Kitay
Cinematography Jamie Anderson
Edited by Robert Hoffman
United Artists

Mr. Mudd Productions

Distributed by Sony Pictures Classics
Release date

  • January 23, 2006(Sundance)
  • May 5, 2006
Running time 102 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $5 million
Box office $3,306,629