Bitter, misanthropic, yet sometimes blisteringly funny, Art School Confidential
is not a movie for everyone. Jerome (Max Minghella, Bee Season
) goes to art school in the hopes of having his genuine ability recognized and cherished--but instead, finds his teachers to be self-obsessed has-beens, his peers jaded and floundering, and himself being investigated for a series of gruesome stranglings. He becomes obsessed with a lovely student named Audrey (Sophia Myles, Tristan and Isolde
), but she's more interested in hunky Jonah (Matt Keeslar, Splendor
), whose crude yet acclaimed paintings of cars and tanks make Jerome want to tear his own eyes out. The crime-thriller plot of Art School Confidential
, however, is merely a contrivance to string together a series of caustic digs at the shallow, narcissistic, talentless hacks who go to art school in the vain hope of achieving fame, wealth, and sexual abundance with little or no effort. For most viewers, who want to think that people are largely well-intentioned and decent, this will seem snide and cruel; but for some viewers, who believe people are foolish and blinkered, Art School Confidential
will seem like an oasis in the arid desert of lies and propaganda about the good side of human nature. If this is your movie, you know who you are, and I encourage you to seek it out as soon as possible. Directed by Terry Zwigoff (Bad Santa
) and based on the work of cartoonist Dan Clowes; their previous collaboration was the much warmer Ghost World
. Also featuring sharp turns from John Malkovich (Being John Malkovich
), Anjelica Huston (Prizzi's Honor
), and Jim Broadbent (Moulin Rouge!
). --Bret Fetzer, Amazon.com
Comedy following a talented young artist, Jerome (Max Minghella), as he escapes from high school to a tiny East Coast art school. Here the boyish freshman's ambition is to become the world's greatest artist, like his hero Picasso. Unfortunately, the beauty and craft of Jerome's portraiture are not appreciated in an anything-goes art class. Neither his harsh judgments of his classmates' efforts nor his later attempts to create pseudo-art of his own win him any admirers. But Jerome does attract the attentions of his dream girl, the stunning and sophisticated Audrey (Sophia Myles), an artist's model and daughter of a celebrated artist. Rejecting the affectations of the local art scene, Audrey is drawn to Jerome's sincerity. When Audrey shifts her attention to Jonah (Matt Keeslar), a hunky painter who becomes the school's latest art star, Jerome is heartbroken. Desperate, he concocts a risky plan to make a name for himself and win her back.