There aren’t many movies that solicit a feeling of enlightenment akin to sitting in an art class listening to a professor lecture. A class that you were interesting in taking after reading the course description, but were not entirely certain of the content being presented. Intriguing in a vague sort of way. After taking the class you were left feeling slightly bored, undeniably confused and ultimately uncertain that you’d learned anything at all. Such is the case with the independent film, TABLOID VIVANT.
TABLOID VIVANT stars Jesse Woodrow and Tamzin Brown as avant-garde artist Maximilien Klinkau and Elizabeth Short-obsessed art critic Sara Speed. Their paths literally cross on the streets of LA one evening and there’s an instant connection between them. Max is working on a new art project that, well, “brings art to life.” I think? I guess. There’s a scene where the logistics of the project are explained, although extremely convoluted, that had me wondering if I should first study art theory or maybe even physics before rewinding and watching the scene over again.
Without giving too much away, Max and Sara find themselves holed-up in a cabin in the woods while he works on his project and she writes about it. Max requests that Sara model for one of his pieces and she reluctantly obliges him. As their initial acquaintance evolves into an obsession, they begin spiraling and fall deeply into what is being created, almost literally losing themselves in the art.
Writer and director Kyle Broom has some cool ideas and visuals, specifically the artwork Max is creating. Woodrow and Brown are effective in their roles portraying both an initial exciting energy and eventual physical and emotional decline. The message Broom may or may not be trying to relay to the audience is also intriguing. Should one put their heart and soul into their art in the hopes that what they’ve created will be groundbreaking enough to give them the fame they so desperately desire?
Where he falters is in the interminable scenes and ultimate overlong length of the movie. The content could have shone much brighter in a short film format.