“Ha ha ha! What a film, Mark!” A review of The Disaster Artist

 

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“Just because you want it doesn’t mean it can happen.”

Rating: ★★★★

I was first introduced to The Room during a college Film Studies lecture as a perfect example of how not to make a film. Everything about it was atrocious, but I also found it weirdly compelling. Since then, I’ve made a real effort to follow everything relating to Tommy Wiseau and this bizarre film of his. It’s become a cult classic in recent years, drawing a crowd of dedicated fans to the Prince Charles Cinema in Leicester Square for monthly screenings, and Q&A’s with cast members.  When I found out that James Franco was creating a film adaptation of Greg Sestero’s novel The Disaster Artist: My Life Inside The Room, the Greatest Bad Movie Ever Made, I was so excited!

I was lucky enough to see the film during its opening weekend at the Prince Charles Cinema, which actually made my experience even better. Being around a crowd of The Room fans who knew the film like the back of their hand was hilarious, because they recited familiar quotes along with James Franco, and it was clear the entire audience was having a blast from start to finish. I honestly can’t remember the last time I laughed this much at a film. Everyone involved made a real effort to recreate the scenes that we know and love, whilst giving us a glimpse into what life on that film set was really like. It’s possible to forget that you’re watching The Disaster Artist and not The Room at times, because the performances are so spot on.

Once again, James Franco’s ability to take a real life person and bring them to life on a screen shone through. I always refer to his performance as Aron Ralston in 127 Hours as one of his best, but his portrayal of Tommy Wiseau certainly comes a close second. He nails the mannerisms, the accent, and that weird laugh that Wiseau has become well known for. You can tell he has dedicated a lot of time and effort to the project, and it’s paid off. Praise must also be given to the rest of the cast for perfectly emulating the characters. Josh Hutcherson as Denny was amazing; even when he was just sitting there that ridiculous wig was enough to make the audience cry with laughter, and Seth Rogen’s script supervisor character delivers these amazing one liners that show his frustration at Tommy’s ridiculous ideas.

Whilst clearly hilarious, this film is not without its fair share of tragedy, mainly around Dave Franco’s character Greg Sestero. His friendship with Tommy required him to make huge, unimaginable sacrifices both professionally and personally, ultimately causing a rift between the two.  Greg is a classic example of a man chasing the allure of fame, and failing miserably. You can’t help but sympathise with him as he tries his best to keep those around him happy whilst trying to attain life changing career goals. The film also shows a darker side to Tommy Wiseau, as he treats the cast and crew around him very badly. He’s so wrapped up in bringing The Room, his “real Hollywood movie”, to life that he neglects the needs of those around him. There are some highly charged emotional moments in this film, which are perfectly balanced with the comedic moments. Without these serious scenes, the film just wouldn’t have been the same.

The Disaster Artist is a must-watch for fans of The Room, and those who want to learn more about the utter chaos that happened on set. It’s funny, intense, emotional and a one of a kind experience from start to finish. Make sure you sit tight until after the credits too, as there’s an extra scene that you don’t want to miss!

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