Something always felt a bit out of place for me in Martin Scorsese’s brilliant “The King of Comedy”, just released on Blu-ray for the first time. I couldn’t put my finger on it but chalked it up to it being thematically ahead of its time in its investigation of the cult of personality that defines modern entertainment.
Art World Bares its Soul in Adam Goldberg’s Superlative ‘(Untitled)’
CHICAGO – One of the best and most exciting surprises of the 2009 film year is a smaller, claustrophobic film starring Adam Goldberg and set in the art gallery world of New York City. “(Untitled)” is an honest, uncompromising character study.
Taking its name from the practice of inscribing artwork with no label at all, (Untitled) involves three people, two who are practicing artists and one who owns a small Soho art gallery. Adrian (Adam Goldberg) is a composer of atonal symphonies – think using buckets and chains for sounds instead of harmonics – and although recognized as a significant craftsman he still needs to supplement his living by providing piano atmosphere in a haughty bistro.
His brother Josh (Eion Bailey) is a “successful” artist, having found a niche market selling his works to decorate hotel lobbies and corporate hallways. He is the biggest income generator for Madeleine (a revelatory Marley Shelton), who owns a small but cutting edge gallery. Embarrassed that she has to rely on Josh’s commercial work to stay afloat, she coyly hides his work in the back when clients come to call.
When Madeleine sees Adrian perform one of his symphonies, she not only gets a commission for him but takes him on as a lover. When the three attitudes of the principal characters collide – Adrian’s outsider inclination, Josh’s desperate need for artistic credibility and Madeleine’s blind worship of the next edgy art happening – the very question of who decides what art can be is philosophically rendered.
Photo credit: Parker Film Company/Samuel Goldwyn Films