Art School Confidential

  • 26 July 2006

This article is from 2006.

If, like many, you've been counting the days until fellow eccentrics - filmmaker Terry Zwigoff and graphic novelist and artist Daniel Clowes - collaborate again on another film, then the wait is over. Following on from their excellent 2001 adaptation of Clowes' comic book series Ghost World, Art School Confidential finds Clowes in even more autobiographical form (the film is based on Clowes' recent graphic novel) as it tells the tale of talented young artist Jerome Platz (Max Minghella) who escapes from high school to a tiny East Coast art school. Here the freshman's attempts to become like his hero Picasso are met with almost total indifference, but he manages to attract the attentions of what he imagines to be his dream girl - the stunning and sophisticated Audrey (Sophia Myles) - an artist's model and the daughter of a celebrated artist.

Not half as nauseating as it sounds, Art School Confidential is awash with the quirky, the unhinged and the insane, from John Malkovich's bogus art teacher to Jim Broadbent's alcoholic failed artist. There's also Anjelica Huston's uptight history professor, Steve Buscemi's coffee shop owner-cum-art impresario, plus a worldly classmate (Joel David Moore), who introduces Jerome to the intricate mores of campus life and Jerome's filmmaker roommate (Ethan Suplee), the cast exploding with energy to create a cinematic masterpiece. A queasy reminder of just how pretentiously shit art schools can appear in the vulnerability of youth this is a queasily funny offbeat addition to the campus comedy. Zwigoff is a master of vulgarity (if you've seen Bad Santa you'll know what I mean), Clowes is the chronicler of the US' outsider youth. (Paul Dale)

Cineworld, 16 Aug, 8pm; 17 Aug, 10pm.

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