Among last years Golden Globe winners, though surprisingly not even noteworthy Oscar nominations, was the documentarian film The Disaster Artist. The film, based on the book of the same name, followed the makings of another infamous film: The Room. The Room is a cult classic released in 2003, classic for it’s sheer and unapologetic badness. Seriously. It’s widely regarded as one of the worst films of all time; written, directed, and starred in by possibly one of the strangest men of all time: Tommy Wiseau. I’m not going to go into the details of The Room, if for no other reason than I’ll just start laughing uncontrollably again, so feel free to look it up sometime. You sure as hell won’t find a review for it here. As for The Disaster Artist, the film goes deep into the making of the film from the eyes of Wiseau’s more-sane but submissive right hand man Greg Sestero. The film features the illustrious Franco brothers playing the lead roles, in this down to earth tale of one of the weirdest things ever put on screen.
Let’s get the performances out of the way. They’re unbelievable. James Franco’s Tommy Wiseau is eerie to watch; from all of his unabashed confidence in the face of bewilderment, to his speech patterns, to his looks; he pulls the role off with incredible gusto, fully deserving his Golden Globe win. His brother, Dave Franco, continues to one of the most underrated actors in the industry with a relatable, friendly portrayal of Sestero, really bringing across his desire for success in the art of acting and films, and his struggle to get there with his level of talent. I really loved the chemistry between the two of them, their brotherly connection was an obvious tool in bringing across the relationship between Wiseau and Sestero. As for the other performances, one of the most respectable men in comedy; Mr. Seth Rogen; stood out as well for his portrayal of the head cinematographer on the set of The Room.
Now here’s the confusing part. This film is not a comedy. That was unexpected for me, going into it. I was expecting a laugh out loud, almost slapstick film, a mockumentary of sorts. Instead, what I got, as a result of a fairly well written screenplay, was a more down to earth, almost sad story of a man who genuinely believed he was misunderstood. There are some incredibly meaningful, incredibly sad moments in the film that endear Wiseau to the audience, just as there are plenty that show his insane side. This was nice, and there were moments where I was holding my breath, but overall, I didn’t find this to be a positive quality in this film. It came across as a little tonally inconsistent, as there were plenty of laugh-out-loud moments and moments of sketch comedy, which as a viewer didn’t seem to make an awful lot of sense. It’s like the writers couldn’t decide which film they wanted to make, so instead they kind half made both, and it doesn’t sit well. Not only that, but the climactic moment ended up being literally neither, leaving the film unsatisfying.
The intrigue factor is what makes or breaks this film. Franco’s Wiseau is just good enough that it can make up for the tonal inconsistency of the film, and the mystery of the man itself are just interesting enough, that to the right audience the film could be just what the doctor ordered. Wiseau was a strange man with a strange background; as undisclosed ones often are. Just before the credits of the film start, a multimedia begins explaining. No one knows how old Tommy Wiseau is, just as no one knows where he comes from or where he made his fortune from (The Room cost almost 6 million dollars). The man is an enigma, and that in of itself can be interesting. I personally couldn’t get past the tonal issues the film has, that’s too important an aspect for me. I would, however not discourage anyone from watching The Disaster Artist.
– Aman Datta
Aman’s Score – 64/100 Aryamaan’s Score – 72/100