Adam Goldberg as Adrian Jacobs in (UNTITLED). Photo credit: Parker Film Company/Samuel Goldwyn Films
Released on October 23rd, (Untitled) is a smart, comedic satire examining New York’s contemporary art scene.
Adam Goldberg plays Adrian Jacobs, a brooding and frustrated, experimental musical composer whose works and live performances fail to capture a thriving audience. On the other hand, his brother Josh Jacobs (Eion Bailey), a commercial painter, has become a corporate success. The film begins when Josh brings gallery owner, Madeleine Gray (Marley Shelton), to one of Adrian’s shows. Intrigued by his avant-garde style of music, Madeleine invites Adrian to perform for the “right crowd” at her gallery opening for the eccentric artist Ray Barko (Vinnie Jones).
Joined by their love of the innovative and avant-garde, Madeleine and Adrian begin a thrilling love affair, setting the stage for a subtle triangle among the two brothers and Madeleine, and further uniting a unique cast of absurd characters to combine the parallel worlds of experimental music and art together.
In this comedic satire, the characters are all likable, if not one dimensional, and where they lack a broad range of emotions, their delivery succeeds in portraying the stereotype of dueling gallery owners, superficial art buyers and collectors, as well as demonstrating the struggles and seriousness of the how the artists view themselves and their work. Each character seems to truly believe in their own causes.
Such questions as to what qualifies or constitutes as art and what are the measurements of success are intimately explored in this visually appealing film. Heightened sound effects serve to complement the artistic set design. Every nuance and sound comes through to create a meaningful layered effect.
The writing is intelligent and philosophical, highlighting the film’s theme effectively without being too blatant. Memorable lines are dispersed throughout the film such as when commercial painter Josh defends his art work, “When did the beautiful become so fucking ugly?”
Filmed in about 25 days throughout parts of Chelsea and Greenwich Village, the energy and backdrop of the city adds to the angst and beauty of the struggling artist.
Jonathan Parker directed and co-wrote this film with writer-producer Catherine DiNapoli (both collaborated on the film Bartleby) to deliver a smart and original depiction of the New York art scene centered within a Chelsea gallery.
This is one film worth watching and exploring to at least answer the ever elusive question why is art created and for whom?