Tabloid Vivant, 2016.
Directed by Kyle Broom
Starring Jesse Woodrow, Tamzin Brown, Chris Carlisle, Ana Corbi and Amber Friendly
Up and coming artist Maximilien Klinkau is hard at work on what he believes will be his masterpiece, inviting his lover Sara, an art critic who is also writing a profile on him, to aid him in completing his work at a secluded lakeside cabin. However, as Maximilien embarks upon his painting, the obsessive nature of the couple and the strain of the painting process soon begin to take a detrimental effect on their health and sanity, threatening to destroy them both.
There are many kinds of films in this world. There are good films; there are bad films, and even films that are so bad they’re good. Then you get films like Tabloid Vivant – a film seemingly made with the sole purpose of infuriating me.
I really struggled in watching this film; it took me, I kid you not, four attempts to watch it, with all the previous attempts ending with me bailing after the first 20 minutes or so. But my Flickering overlords demanded I write them a review or they’d “send the boys round”, so I forced myself to watch it until the end.
I should stress right now that the acting from our leading actors Jesse Woodrow (as Max) and Tamzin Brown (as Sara) is solid, and both turn in genuinely good performances as their respective characters, it’s just that I hated the characters.
Max is your clichéd whinging tortured artist man-child, ranting about how the world is becoming digitised and how his work will be “real”, essentially the same tired monologue we’ve heard before. Sara comes off as an insufferable narcissist, eager for validation from everyone about herself and her work, and spouting lines like “It’s nice to have people filming me, because I’m always doing interesting things” after doing something not really all that interesting, essentially ensures I’ll hate her.
One could argue that the unlikeable nature of the characters is deliberate, and it could very well be that the characters are supposed to be artificial, or “plastic people” if you prefer. But I really don’t give a damn if it was deliberate, every minute with these two characters was just insufferable, like being trapped in a lift with Noel Edmonds and Piers Morgan, you just want to see them both suffer horribly and thankfully they do.
The film’s tone is all over the place again which is possibly deliberate, and I’m perhaps not smart enough to realise that. It begins with an admittedly interesting opening about the infamous Black Dahlia murder which it suggests will be an important plot point, but aside from a few mentions and a monologue it has little to do with the overall story. Ditching that possibly interesting plot for the most part, the film is something of a drama about two obsessive narcissists, eager to make something that matters and that will have everlasting value, before finally veering into what one character calls “creepy clown time” as both characters dive off the deep end in the film’s closing moments.
The film is littered with “cutaway” moments in and while one or two are admittedly quite funny and creative, most of them serve little purpose other than to show off how clever the director thinks he’s being, like a completely necessary fourth wall break in which the film shows us it’s script, with bits being cross out and skipped over. This would be funny if it was recurring joke, but nope just one and done.
Now in preparation for writing this review, I did something that I rarely do, I read other people’s reviews – mainly to see what they saw in it, and also to see if I missed the point of the film, and some reviews would suggest I have.
Some agree that the film is meant as some kind of meditation on art, digitisation and film and such, and many agree that the film is much more complex and designed to make the viewer really think, and most reviews seem to praise the film wholeheartedly.
I don’t know what film they were bloody watching because all I got was an insufferable pretentious irritating work, and the only thoughts it made me have were things that I would rather be doing than watching it.
In case you didn’t realise I hated Tabloid Vivant; this film is far from being a piece of art as you can get, but it’s certainly much closer to being piece of something else unsavoury.
If you’re curious about wasting 90 odd minutes of your life check it out, you might just enjoy it more than I did, and you might actually get the point that the film was trying to make. Otherwise, avoid it at all costs and hope the actors will actually be given a good film to star in.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ / Movie: ★