Nightcrawler writer-director Dan Gilroy and his stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Rene Russo turned the art of crime-scene journalism into a creepy profession. In the first trailer for Netflix’s Velvet Buzzsaw, they do the same for the contemporary art scene in Los Angeles.
“Critique is so limiting and emotionally draining,” Gyllenhaal says, adopting a posh look as Morf Vandewalt, an elite art critic. But it’s not just any art he’s critiquing.
Russo plays Rhodora Haze, who runs the biggest contemporary art gallery in L.A. When a man dies in his apartment, leaving behind what are considered “mesmeric” paintings, she puts them on display and sends the entire art world into a waking nightmare.
The unknown artist used blood to create his red coloring, the images seem to move on their own on the canvas, and one character (played by Billy Magnussen) is physically attacked by his art piece. Is this demon art?
According to an interview with Gilroy and Vanity Fair, Toni Collette plays an art museum curator who becomes an art advisor for the money. After plagued by both internal and external demons in Hereditary, Collette seemingly gets her arm buzzed off in this film. John Malkovich takes the role of Piers, the most famous contemporary artist whose work is on the decline ever since he stopped drinking.
Daveed Diggs, Zawe Ashton, Tom Sturridge, and Natalia Dyer also star in this thriller.
Velvet Buzzsaw hits Netflix and select theaters on Feb. 1.