Art School Confidential
Filmmaker Terry Zwigoff and comic artist and screenwriter Daniel Clowes, who collaborated for the acclaimed 2001 comedy-drama “Ghost World,” team up once again for this offbeat satire. Jerome (Max Minghella) is an aspiring artist who arrives at a prestigious East Coast art institute to study. While Jerome enjoys daydreams of becoming the best-respected painter on Earth and winning the hearts of his female classmates, he soon learns the sad truth – his “cool artist” act is old hat in the big city, and as he’s surrounded by every art school cliché on the planet; practically nothing about him stands out.
Determined to be recognized whatever the consequences, Jerome maps out a bizarre plan to become famous that has some unexpected consequences. Loosely adapted from a story in Clowes’ comic book Eightball, “Art School Confidential” also stars John Malkovich, Jim Broadbent, Anjelica Huston, and Sophia Myles.
This smale-scale film shows what happens in many art schools, including the student who tries to please the teacher, the student who keeps flunking out, the rebel, and the sincere student – in this case a character named Jerome (Max Minghella). Jerome descends down a path in which he goes from painting what he truly is inspired by, to copying other people’s styles. He also goes from being a nice guy to a jerk by the film’s end. He does paint an inspired portrait of a female model he falls for and in turn she becomes interested in him near the end of the movie.
However, as is the case too frequently these days, the film is loaded with crude language and profanity and it does show a nude female and male model. The film also seems to be in search of an identity as it is a bit mystery, a bit comedy, drama, and often a bit abstract. I found the ending to be less than satisfying, and at the conclusion I sat there, basically thinking, “what?” Confidentially, “Art School Confidential” is one to skip.