Velvet Buzzsaw

Movie review by Michael Ordona, Common Sense Media
Velvet Buzzsaw Poster Image

Common Sense says

age 16+

Supernatural violence, sex in art satire/horror hybrid.

R 2019 112 minutes

Parents say

age 13+

Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 14+

Based on 2 reviews

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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 10+


This movie is completely fine if your child knows not to repeat the swear words or flick anyone off then this is fine sure it has some gore but about the Same as a PG-13 movie it has almost zero sex and some nudity other than that this movie is ok

This title has:

Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
age 16+

Velvet Buzzsaw is the first 2019 movie I watch, and it's likely to be on my top 10 disappointing movies of 2019 at the end of the year!

Velvet Buzzsaw is thought-provoking, but not in a good way. My mind couldn't stop thinking throughout its 113 minute runtime; only to make sure if I'm really getting all what is going on, or the plot is so profound and smart that I'm only seeing the surface of it. The dialogue sounded very sophisticated, and everything was very stylish. Alas, the movie is utterly pretentious, and isn't half intelligent as it tries to be. The movie just liked to overstylize while it tried to distract you from its overly-expository dialogue, and its incoherent plot. But this is just the tip of the iceberg! Only five minutes through the movie, I could tell that Velvet Buzzsaw is nothing but a typical Netflix movie; not like Roma, but much more like Mute. The production design, for instance, is surprisingly cheap and poor (considering the movie is about Art) that made the movie looks more like an episode of a TV-Series than an actual movie. There are some stunning colorful shots, though. Thanks in large part to the cinematographer Robert Elswit (There Will Be Blood). In the first 10 minutes we are introduced to many characters on after another who I wish if I cared about any of them. Aside from Josephina, played by Zawe Ashton, I was hardly invested in any of the characters. The stellar cast is not to blame of course; Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, and Toni Collette, they really did their best. What's worse than the overabundance of characters, whom I didn't care about, is that almost half of them are pretty much needless and don't have much to add to the story. Dan Gilroy's use of foreshadowing is as unsubtle as it gets. I mean he abruptly quite literally focuses on particular things that would have a major role in the plot later on. Some of the images Gilroy throws right in your face are just for a satirical purpose. By the way, Velvet Buzzsaw falls completely flat as a satirical movie, If you haven't already expected that. Its satire is blatantly toothless and blunt. The way Gilroy moves between the characters is quite impressive. It's slick, and also make you feel as if all the characters are suspicious, and always keep an eye on each other. As a horror film, Velvet Buzzsaw doesn't have many horror elements, except some "scary" scenes and jumpscares scattered throughout the second half that are as laughably cheap as those you see in trashy dumb slasher horror flicks. As a result, the movie has a painfully inconsistent tone. I would be lying if I said that I wasn't interested at some point in the story, and wanted to know what would happen. Nevertheless, that was only for about 10 minutes in the second act, and then the movie lost me again pretty quick. I can't express how frustrated and underwhelmed I am, especially when the movie marks the second collaboration between one of my all-time favorite actors Jake Gyllenhaal and the talented filmmaker Dan Gilroy, after the first movie they made together, Nightcrawler, which is one of my all-time favorites, and one of the few movies I gave them the perfect score. It's not the first time though for Gilroy to disappoint me, for he did back in 2017 with his mediocre film, Roman J. Israel, Esq. Low your expectations, because Velvet Buzzsaw is yet another Netflix movie. (4/10)

This title has:

Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

Movie Details

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  • Nightcrawler Poster Image


    Violent but thoughtful thriller about the state of media.

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  • Roman J. Israel, Esq. Poster Image

    Roman J. Israel, Esq.

    Strong performances, but inconsistent and unsatisfying.

    age 13+

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