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Movie Review – Tabloid Vivant is a Tale of Beautiful Torment

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Tabloid Vivant

Written and Directed by Kyle Broom

Starring – Jesse Woodrow, Tamzin Brown, and Chris Carlisle

To refer to Max Klinkau and Sara Speed as kindred spirits would be to make a gross understatement.  They both seek notoriety, but don’t want to achieve it by way of the humdrum and conventional means that many are more than happy to accept. Max and Sara are striving for something truly unique.

Max has developed a “system of painting” that will radically change the way people will view the classic art form, even in an age where digital art has gained prominence. Sara sees this as an incredibly fascinating concept, and is ecstatic to be tasked with writing a critique based on Max’s new style.

They retreat to the seclusion of a house deep in the woods, which belongs to Max’s agent. He explains how the incorporation of an aspect of digital art into a classical form, such as painting on canvas ,will prove to be a revolutionary step that could change the direction of art. However, just hearing his theory about his new style is not enough for Sara – she needs to see a sample to understand.

Max allows her to see a preliminary example created using his system and “scoring” of colors. She is…astonished, flummoxed, captivated, amazed, mystified, confounded, dazzled, and any other word that may come close to describing her reverence for the image she is bearing witness to.

As she gropes for the right words to relate to her readers what she has seen, she has great difficulty describing something that is simply indescribable.

Max begins his newest piece in which he will incorporate his new style, and he will have Sara sit as his subject.  Days and even weeks pass as they both struggle to accomplish their respective works, but he strain of the process has has started to become more than either can bear. Art in any medium can be a fickle, cruel, and even maniacal mistress, and they are on the verge of finding out just how true a sentiment it is.

While this particular film is absolutely praise worthy, I’m finding it difficult to approach it in a way that will do it justice. Much in the same way the the character of Sara has trouble imparting what she had seen to HER readers. It’s a movie that viewers must experience for themselves, because the proof, as they say, is in the pudding.

Kyle Broom wrote and directed this beautifully bizarre and introspective , yet very entertaining  film. It’s a story that puts the destructive obsessiveness of an artist on display, showing how often said artist can turn out to be his or her own worst enemy.  It’s also an intelligent statement about an artists ability to gain any semblance notoriety for their work in a world saturated with “artistic content”.

His lead characters are well written,  having real emotional depth and integrity.  Characters such as these are normally so insipid and stereotypical, thus lacking any substance.

His approach to the visual style for the film actually mimics that of Max’s new approach to painting. Broom employs classic elements and combines them with modern tricks of the trade. I specifically think of the use of a plate shot in a driving scene and how it resembled a similar shot of Cary Grant and Grace Kelly  in the Hitchcock classic To Catch a Thief. He also incorporated quick insert shots and images as a way to keep the audience on their toes.

Jesse Woodrow and Tamsin Brown had an undeniable chemistry, that they were able to sustain seamlessly throughout the entire film.

Woodrow colorfully (no, that’s not an artist pun) flaunts Max’s imperfect, disassociated artist persona. Such a character could come across as shallow, cliche and flat in the wrong hands. Woodrow is able to make the character dynamic and intense, while also adding a dose of charisma and swagger.

Brown brings out Sara’s fascination with glamour and fame in a more subtle and less than gaudy fashion. Although she portrays an art critic, she doesn’t lend her character that haughty, overly pretentious bitterness one might associate with such a character. She avoids being the tragically hip visage of an art aficionado we’re used to,  à la Otho and Delia in Beetlejuice.

Both make an incredible emotional and somewhat physical transformation along the way, that serves as evidence of the exhaustion and torment both characters are enduring. They both even got to have their own little Jack Torrance moments, solidifying the notion that interruptions to ones creative process are very annoying.

In a world where everyone wants their 15 minutes, more people need to strive to be timeless. But in a world of “white noise”, 15 minutes is the best even very talented people can muster. That’s why I suggest you give Kyle Broom’s film, Tabloid Vivant, 1 hour and 45 minutes of attention. It deserves that much at the very least, otherwise I wouldn’t give it 8.5 / 10.

Tabloid Vivant is currently available to view on VOD. So…what are you waiting for?

 

 

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