**The following is an in-depth review of “The Disaster Artist” and does contain spoilers**
The true story of the making of one of the most infamous films in Hollywood history is brought magnificently to life in Jame’s Franco’s “The Disaster Artist.”
Based on the life of cult filmmaker Tommy Wiseau and centering on the making of his failed 2003 film “The Room,” “The Disaster Artist” tells the story of two aspiring actors in San Francisco who decide to go to Hollywood and become stars. Rejected by Hollywood, they decide to just make their own movie.
“The Disaster Artist” begins in a San Francisco theater class, where the shy and awkward Greg Sestero meets the overconfident and outgoing Tommy Wiseau. Greg sees in Tommy a confidence that he desperately wants and decides to invite Tommy to work on a scene with him. This sparks a friendship that would lead to the creation of one of the most interesting underground films in history, and would continue to this day.
Tommy and Greg bond over their love of movies and their desire to be stars. They even take an impromptu road trip to the crash site where James Dean was killed in an automobile accident in 1955. The James Dean influence comes back several times during the film, which is kind of funny because one of James Franco’s earliest roles was playing James Dean in a television movie.
Tommy Wiseau remains a mysterious figure, and this is very present in the film. Despite having an obvious eastern European accent and being at least 30, Tommy throughout the film tells everyone that he’s from New Orleans and that he’s in his early 20s.
The film also showcases that Tommy, while making “The Room,” had no earthly idea what he was doing. He bought prohibitively expensive filming equipment that big budget blockbusters would normally rent, he built sets that looked identical to easily accessible locations that he could have just filmed in for free and he used green screen for scenes and backgrounds that, again, he could have easily filmed in real locations for nothing. This was done, according to Tommy, because they were making a “real Hollywood picture,” even though real Hollywood pictures aren’t made that way at all.
“The Disaster Artist” isn’t just a film about a film, it’s a film about a journey and a desire to see your dreams fulfilled at any cost. The cost of Tommy Wiseau seeing his dream fulfilled came in at just around $6 million. This didn’t seem to bother Tommy, as he seemed to have a bottomless bank account.
On the surface, “The Disaster Artist” is about an eccentric foreigner making his own movie as a big middle finger to Hollywood for rejecting him. Beneath that, however, it’s about the deep friendship between Tommy and Greg and all of the peaks and valleys that come with any deeply personal relationship between two people. The relationship between Tommy and Greg is so central to the story that it could even realistically be called a bromantic comedy.
While Tommy set out to make a serious film in the vein of Tennessee Williams, what resulted was so hilariously bad that Wiseau has since claimed the film was always meant to be a dark comedy. The leads to one of the most heartfelt scenes in the film, where you can see Tommy’s heart break when he realizes that everyone is laughing at his movie. Franco plays the scene with such heart and emotion, it’s hard not to feel for the guy.
“The Disaster Artist” is a beautifully produced film. Well written, well acted, and brilliantly directed by James Franco. It’s definitely worthy of all the Oscar buzz it’s receiving and it will be extremely interesting to see how the film makes out this coming award season.
“The Disaster Artist” currently holds a 94 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes.