REVIEW: The Disaster Artist

Tommy Wiseau in The Room.

After the release of The Room starring, written, directed and produced by Tommy Wiseau, comes a a satire starring and directed by James Franco, based on the memoir of the same name written by Greg Sestero.

Before watching the film you’d assume that knowing the premise of The Room (sometimes known as ‘the worst film ever made’) would be essential for understanding Franco’s adaptation. However, while you may not recognise some of its memorable quotes, for example, “Oh hi Mark”, you won’t be put at a disadvantage when it comes to comprehending the film. The most common trailer only shows the scene in which Tommy, played by James Franco, is unable to remember his lines. As such, many expected the film to simply consist of a behind the scenes look at the filming process for The Room. However, it is so much more than that.

The film follows the character Greg, coincidently played by Franco’s younger brother, Dave, and his relationship with Wiseau and the world of acting. Although the first half an hour is a little slow with regard to plot, the film does not fail to please when Tommy begins the process of actually creating the signature film. We witness the zaniness of ‘Wiseau’ as he directs and stars in his biggest project, as well as the degree to which he struggles to form a close bond with anyone besides Greg as a result of his bad temper and lack of common sense. The film explores the friendship between Wiseau and Sestero, and in particular, the struggles they both faced and the degree to which they supported one another despite Wiseau’s frequently disruptive behaviour. In fact, when the real Wiseau saw this film he claimed that 99.9% of it was true to his real experiences and that he was very impressed with Franco’s portrayal. The film can therefore be said to bring us closer to understanding who the infamous Tommy Wiseau actually is!

The best aspect of the film is James Franco’s acting. Cleverly, he includes clips at the end of the film portraying the parallels between the original scenes with that of Franco’s, and it here that the audience can ascertain just how spot on his parody is: from the infamous accent to the way he keeps his eyes half open. I remain hopeful that Franco will receive an award for his fine work.

It was interesting to witness Dave Franco play a slightly shy and reserved character considering how usually outspoken he is, counter balancing his brother’s performance very well. Other A-listers featured in the film include High School Musical’s Zac Efron as an unrecognisable Dan Janjigian and The Hunger Games star Josh Hutcherson as Philip Haldiman. But, unfortunately, they were not offered much screen time. Seth Rogan plays the part of script supervisor, and although his character has some very funny lines, the film does not convey the depth of Rogan’s acting ability. Visually, the film is rich in colour and the cast resemble the original actors very closely.

The film is certainly far from a disaster, and instead, reveal’s Franco’s huge potential as both actor and director. We eagerly await his next venture!

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