Velvet Buzzsaw ^ Ending Explained

What the hell did I just watch? The previous question could well summarize the result of any viewer after watching the 113 minutes of Velvet Buzzsaw , film starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo and Toni Collete, under the exclusive distribution of Netflix.

Beyond its technical aspects, the film poses a real challenge for all everyone who takes the risk of seeing it. After all, Velvet Buzzsaw’s plot flows perfectly, but allows the viewer to fill the gaps of the how and why.

Do you wanna know what you really watched on Velvet Buzzsaw? No more preambles. Let’s analyze what Velvet Buzzsaw is about.

1 ^ Does Velvet Buzzsaw have a post-credits scene?

You know, maybe to clear some things up. Well, Velvet Buzzsaw does not have a post-credits scene, but it does have a along-the-credits scene. That is, we do not see the scene after the credits, but during the credits. But we will talk about that scene and its explanation later on in this post.

2 ^ Why is the movie called Velvet Buzzsaw?

Velvet Buzzsaw is in fact the psychedelic name of the rock band to which Rhodora Haze (Rene Russo) belonged used to be part in the 1980s. That was the kind of art she used to do and the reason why she had those tattoos on her body.

The film is so called because it essentially condenses in that tattoo the symbolism of the whole film, the fact that even a tattoo, within the correct subjectivity, is art. What other things are art?

3 ^ What kind of film is Velvet Buzzsaw exactly?

And that is the question we should begin with. Should we see this film as a black comedy? Or as an innovative piece of terror? Or suspense pop maybe?

Here the matter has some background. In fact, back in 1998 director Dan Gilroy had spent years in WB trying to carry out a project: Superman Lives, a kind of Tim Burton version of the Kryptonian superhero. Gilroy was frustrated when in the Bugs Bunny movie studios, he was told there was no money for those crazy things.

Gilroy himself has explained [1] that Velvet Buzzsaw is a brutal criticism of Hollywood conventions (think about Disney) to prefer monetization to the risk of art. That is, Velvet Buzzsaw should be seen not as a horror movie, or a comedy, but as a tragicomedic catharsis about things like movie theaters being mobbed with Thor: Ragnarok and not with, say, Birdman .

4 ^ What the hell is going on in Velvet Buzzsaw?

Everything sets up with the death of old Vetril Dease, who leaves precise instructions to destroy all of his property after his eventual death. What old Dease was not counting on is that his neighbor, Josephina (Zawe Ashton) was going to break into his apartment, and that she was going to steal all his paintings and even his cat. Take note of the cat.

Josephina and Rhodora appropriate the material and sell it as hot cakes, taking advantage of the emotional impact it has among the clientele. The problem is that soon, many of those who have been in contact with the paintings of Dease begin to appear burnt alive, or hanged, and that kind of things. Well, not without first experiencing very vivid and gloomy hallucinations.

5 ^ Who is the murderer? Is it the ghost of Dease?

Facts. First, Dease’s paintings are made in part with blood and tissue, what we do not know is whether they are his or one of his victims’, because in life he was a psychopath who enjoyed murder. But by using such unusual materials he breathed life into his paintings at a level that even he himself feared.

Second, all the murders happened because of works of art, art killed those people, art within Dease’s paintings, a living art.

Now theories. There are two things that can be happening: the first is that Dease used his body and blood to paint as an expiation to his crimes, and perhaps as a way to avoid committing them and all that darkness got into the pictures. And the second is that Dease used the body and blood of his victims, and now his victims want to take revenge on him at all costs.

I suspect that the first thing would be the right thing to do. There is too much emphasis on Dease’s work in the murders, to ignore that whatever the entity within it really is, it wants to be seen, appreciated. But maybe, not to be exploited.

6 ^ Who were the victims of Dease’s art?

Those killed by the art of Dease can be classified into two groups: the exploiters and the buriers.

The exploiters wanted to take advantage of the work of Dease to earn a lot of money, and the buriers, wanted to hide the work of Dease. Is not that contradictory?

No, what Dease’s work wants is to survive, to multiply, to spread like a virus, to be seen, and the buriers do not want that to happen. But curiously it does not want anyone to make money with that, it wants the paintings to be used as an emotional stimulus, not a commercial one (point for the first theory).

In the exploiters we have: Bryson (Billy Magnussen) who wanted to steal a painting to earn extra money; Gretchen (Toni Collette) who, following the example of Rhodora, wanted to do her business with Dease’s work in museums; Josephine and Rhodora , well, they appropriated commercially the work of Dease, they won millions and also took advantage of it to make pretty dirty contract tricks.

In the buriers we have: Jon Dondon (Tom Sturridge) who dies after planning the destruction of Dease’s image revealing his murders. And Morf Vandewalt (Jake Gyllenhaal) who curiously did manage to expose Dease, but not before experiencing acute mental deterioration.

What we do not know is how destructive was Morf’s article for the image of Dease. I have to suppose that it was not too much, if the German girl dared to buy a Dease in the street.

7 ^ How did Dease’s art kill those people? What else is it capable to do?

The art of Dease, in addition to driving some people nuts, has the ability to infect other works of art, which are what actually kill their victims. No painting of Dease caused any death directily, but surroanding art responds to his paintings.

Bryson: Diesbecause of a the angry monkeys painting, in the gas station where he stopped after his shirt caught fire.

Dondon: Dies hanging from a colorful tie on the ceiling of the live painting exposed in his gallery.

Gretchen : Dies after one of her arms gets trapped in the multi-hole sphere of Damrish (Daveed Diggs).

Josephine : Dies because of the neighborhood art of the Damrish collective presented before her as a beautiful gallery, in the end she ended up portrayed in the mural of the neighborhood club that she hated.

Morf : Dies because of the robot he fiercely criticized on his website. The fact that there always has to be real art present in the murders so that Dease’s paintings could infect them, implies that the robot must have been in that warehouse.

Rhodora : This death implies explaining the end of the film and its symbolism, so we’ll save it for later.

8 ^ Why did Coco survive all the madness of Velvet Buzzsaw?

Coco was exposed to Dease’s works, and in fact used information from Rhodora to get her working connections with Dondon and Morf. And we also have the archivist who registered, touched, classified and preserved the paintings of Dease, why did not they die?

The issue perhaps is that their minds are not obsessed with art. Coco is indeed quite mediocre in the segment and literally has no interest in learning either the aesthetic or the monetary side of the universe of art. And the archivist is only interested, perhaps as a scientist, but not in any other way. Only an obsessed mind (eye, not expert) in any of the facets of art is susceptible to the work of Dease.

It also applies to people interested in art, but not interested in exploiting Dease’s work at all costs, such as the curators of the Metropolitan Museum of Los Angeles. Or Damrish. Or Piers.

9 ^ Why did the tattoo attack Rhodora? Is she dead?

At the end of the film, we see how Rhodora gets rid of all her pieces of art. He already understands that it is art and her connection with it that makes her the favorite target of Dease’s work. Then she invents her own form of art by replicating the painting in her room, but in reality she has NOT got rid of all the art. He has art in his body.

Rhodora’s tattoo is a mark of her rockstar past, and although it may not be aesthetically beautiful, it does have a meaning for her . In fact, the definition of art is the following:

The expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power. [2]

Emotional power, and for Rhodora that tattoo that many may consider as not so aesthetic, for her is the symbol of her old ideals, her youth, and above all, her mistakes, faults that she remembers every day that she must enter her gallery and be the tough and implacable business woman who makes underground deals to be the best in a world of sharks, and not the rebellious girl with ideals of change that one day she was.

And yes, that killed her. There is no reason to believe that Rhodora would survive, the painting only takes into account actions, not epiphanies, nor redemptions. Rhodora was damned.

10 ^ What does the final scene of Velvet Buzzsaw mean? What is the message of the movie?

One of the reasons why I think Dease’s work was not intrinsically evil was the outcome of Piers (Jon Malkovich), in the along-credits scene we see him doing his own art on the beach, with the sea consuming him every second, and he does not care too much, he is happy and smiling.

We could say that this was the cause of the conversation he had with Rhodora, about leaving everything and starting over, but the critical moment is when Piers touches Dease’s painting, and understands that there is something that does not work well in his conception of art, until now buried in the business of reproductions and replicas of his glorious times.

That would also explain why Damrish was so moved by the painting, and decided to leave Rhodora and Josephine afterwards. He also understood something implicit in art, it is first about aesthetics and emotional connection, that about money, restrictive treatments, profit margins or surplus value.

Both understood that art is not simply merchandise. Ironically, the director did not complain about the $ 21 million Netflix gave him in exchange for this film, or maybe it’s time to open the debate on whether Netflix is ​​a much friendlier platform than movie theaters for works focused on artistic vision and not so much on the monetary issue. Is that accurate?

Really interesting, the final scene, before the credits seems that part of Dease’s dream is reached, his work is exhibited and distributed among the people for almost no money. Maybe the price Dease considered fair. There are no restrictions, anyone can buy them. There is distribution, but no exploitation. That is indeed something powerful to think about.

If the movie is good or bad, we will discuss that later, on the review of the film. Questions? Annotations? Doubts? Insults? The comments section is open just below this post. See you in another post of Ending Explained, here on SabaneroX

Sources:

[1] How Tim Burton’s failed Superman movie inspired Netflix’s new thriller Velvet Buzzsaw – polygon.com

[2] Art. Definition. Oxford Dictionaries – oxforddictionaries.com

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