James Franco has had a mixed bag of success with his directorial career. He is a gifted actor, with a knack for playing memorable, offbeat characters that you either love or hate. With The Disaster Artist, however, he has put in a riveting performance as Tommy Wiseau, the real-life actor, and director who was the mind behind the cult film The Room. That movie was widely panned. This one, based on the book of the same name, is far from a failure.
Who is Tommy Wiseau?
Tommy Wiseau is an artist who dreams of making it big. He wants to make his movie but feels that Hollywood just won’t accept him and his unconventional ideas. So he teams up with Greg Sestero, played by Dave Franco, to make an independent film – which is, of course, The Room. The Disaster Artist is in a strange place because it’s a good movie about a bad movie.
James Franco Performance
James Franco puts in a performance of a lifetime in The Disaster Artist; screaming, slurring and strutting his way through the movie, and the making of a film, as he issues absurd directorial commands and sermonizes on what it means to create art. As the movie goes on, you get the sense that Wiseau is determined to labor in his delusions, at one point absurdly claiming he is 19 years old (he’s not).
In another, he tells the crew that he must bare his buttocks because it will bring in the money at the box office. It’s all beautifully absurd and wonderfully comic. Somehow amidst all of the pain, rejection, bad decision making and sheer foolishness, there comes out a heartfelt and warm expression of love, friendship and urge to create despite whatever criticism you might receive. And it’s show-stoppingly funny every frame of the way.
Artist is a new high for James Franco and the supporting cast, all of whom put in terrific roles that seem to perfectly suit their personality. It’s intimate, believable and ultimately, human.