Thursday, 15 March 2018

The Disaster Artist ★★★★★

Hi doggy

Who would’ve thought such poignant, thought provoking dialogue could come from a film often consider to be the worst ever made? I’m of course talking about the cult classic, the epitome of ‘so bad it’s good’, The Room. Conceived, funded, produced and directed by the mysterious Tommy Wiseau (who also happens to star as the film’s protagonist), it’s entertained lovers of schlock for years, with it’s poorly delivered yet infinitely quotable dialogue, nonsensical plotlines and the menagerie of drinking games based upon it (or is that last one just me?).

Therefore, it’s no wonder that there was a ravenous interest from fans, eager to learn how such a movie could possibly be made; enter The Disaster Artist. Based on the tell-all book written by co-star Greg Sestero, the film stars James Franco as Wiseau, chronicling his days in acting school, through to the making of The Room, culminating in its fateful premier, all from the perspective of Sestero (played by Dave Franco). 

Would The Disaster Artist live up to its source material? Could it shed light on what must have been one of the most unique filmmaking experiences of 20th century? Read on to find out.

The Good

Firstly, I’m happy to report that every role is played sublimely. Both Franco portray Wiseau and Sestero so convincingly, it’s easy to forget you’re watching a dramatisation and not a documentary. This is most evident during the closing credits, where scenes from The Room are shown alongside recreations starring the cast of The Disaster Artist; the similarities are uncanny, unsettlingly so. 

What’s more, not only are the portrayals accurate, but remarkably endearing. Franco plays a very sympathetic Wiseau who’s blind, furious ambition is as relatable as it is inspiring. Sure, this is first and foremost a comedy, but it’s hard not to get choked up watching a man achieve his dreams against all odds, despite the unconventional route to this resolution.

In that regard, arguably the raison d'être of the film for long time fans of the source material is that it gives you a whole new appreciation for The Room. No longer is it just a punchline, but the culmination of toil, explosive arguments, hirings, firings and above all an unwavering dream. 

But rest assured, it’s still the best film to watch drunk.

The Bad

Having said that, The Disaster Artist isn’t quite the perfect film that The Room is. For example, it omits elements from Sestero’s original book that paint a less than favourable portrait of Wiseau. You’ll have to read the book (which I implore that you do) to find out what these are, and to say that their omission detracts from the film would be a misnomer, however for a film purported to be ‘based on true events’, I’d appreciate the truest account of these events to be told.

Furthermore, although they have brief cameos, it would’ve been nice to see both Wiseau and Sestero in more prominent roles. But chalk this one up to personal preference rather than objective criticism.

The Verdict

When you consider the stigma attached to The Room, The Disaster Artist is better than it had any right to be. A hugely entertaining and surprisingly heat-warming romp, regardless of if you’ve ever seen original film or not, there’s plenty to enjoy here and it’s more than deserving of the awards and plaudits it’s garnered. 

Sir Thomas Baker

The Disaster Artist at CeX

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