The Disaster Artist: DVD Review
There will be a large portion of the audience who've never heard of Tommy Wiseau or his film The Room.
Released in 2003 to riotously bad reviews, and dubbed the Citizen Kane of Bad movies, The Room has since gone on to be a money-making affair that revels in its awfulness, terrible writing and appalling acting.
With an opening sequence that gives some A-list Hollywood names and talking heads the chance to voice their appreciation for the film, James Franco's film delves deeply into a bromance and a Carpe Diem attitude that evolved from Wiseau's friendship with collaborator Greg Sestero (Dave Franco).
Based on Sestero's 2013 book 'The Disaster Artist: My Life Inside The Room, the Greatest Bad Movie Ever Made', James Franco's affectionate re-telling of how it all came to pass is nothing short of affectionate and life-affirming.
Charting the friendship that grew from Wiseau and Sestero's initial meeting at an acting class in San Francisco in the late 90s, it's the classic tale of jealousy and success in the Hollywood realm.
When Sestero (Dave Franco, genuine, bubbly and full of hope) begins to get a degree of success and a girlfriend (Alison Brie, underused), Wiseau's fragile insecurities begin to bubble up and threatens to derail the duo.
But deciding to channel it into writing his own film, after a casting agent says he'll never be more than a villain, Wiseau was galvanised to self-fund, write and direct The Room.
The thing that works about The Disaster Artist, is quite simply, the reverence that it holds for its subject and its central protagonist.
James Franco is utterly mesmerising as Tommy Wiseau, disappearing completely into the role and channeling both Wiseau's idiosyncracies and quirks. But no character piece, what Franco does is make his Wiseau both human and fallible, never leading him to being an object of mockery (which could so easily have been done).
An intrinsic knowledge of The Room's sheer awfulness isn't necessary, as the infectious film-making on the display and peek inside the Hollywood machine is nothing short of contagious.
Complete with late 90s/ early 2000 period details, and a taut eye for the central duo of Sestero and Wiseau (others outside the orbit tend to get a little short shrift unfortunately), The Disaster Artist is nothing more than a chasing your dreams tale.
But under Franco's watch, and by refusing to exploit either the story or its general eccentricities weirdness, it becomes a film that shows why the power of Hollywood continues to live and why those who step outside the norm continue to thrive in its wake.