When Greg Sestero, an aspiring film actor, meets the weird and mysterious Tommy Wiseau in an acting class, they form a unique friendship and travel to Hollywood to make their dreams come true.
If you haven’t heard of or seen ‘The Room’, I’d imagine ‘The Disaster Artist’ might not immediately take your fancy, but to miss out on one of the funniest films of the year would be a mistake. Based on the making of the infamous cult film and taken from actor Greg Sestero’s book on his experiences working on the movie, ‘The Disaster Artist’ is a hilarious and enthralling insight into the bizarre world of Tommy Wiseau and ‘The Room’. I only watched ‘The Room’ for the first time a couple of weeks back, and it was every bit as funny and hilariously bad as I’d hoped for. It was a passion project for Wiseau, but it’s horrendously misjudged in almost every way, from the wooden acting to an incomprehensible narrative, and it’s absolutely glorious as a result. ‘The Disaster Artist’ is so great because it’s just as passionate and it’s clear James Franco (who directs and plays Wiseau) and everyone involved has made this out of sheer love for the misguided masterpiece of bad cinema that is ‘The Room’.
Told primarily from the viewpoint of Greg Sestero (Dave Franco), it follows his first meeting and early friendship with Tommy Wiseau, as they both move to Los Angeles and attempt to make it in the acting world. Sestero has a modicum of hope, but through a combination of being much older than he says, his weird look and bad acting style (not to mention his desire to play the hero), all of Wiseau’s attempts fail. He decides to cut out the middle man and write his own script, which he will also act in, direct, produce and control on just about every level, and if it’s not anything else, ‘The Disaster Artist’ is a fascinating insight into what can go wrong when someone inexperienced is let loose with a lot of money and filming equipment. It’s a bizarre story and it’s well told here, handled superbly by Franco and an ensemble cast without ever feeling like satire or a parody.
The performances are perfect caricatures of the people they are portraying, shown neatly in re-enactment scenes at the end of the film, and Franco in particular does a great job of inhibiting Wiseau and copying his mannerisms, without merely coming across as someone doing an impression. The film is incredibly funny, but it also isn’t afraid to delve into more dramatic elements as it runs through the story. It doesn’t shy away from some of Wiseau’s genuinely appalling behaviour on set, nor does it play him merely as a joke figure, with some scenes achieving genuine pathos. Wiseau remains an enigma surrounded by unanswered questions, but ‘The Disaster Artist’ does as good a job as any at getting inside his head.
‘The Disaster Artist’ is a terrific film that captures the insanity that was the making of ‘The Room’, made with passion by James Franco and a stellar ensemble. It had me laughing throughout at the ridiculousness of it all, but perhaps more importantly, it managed to make me care about these people and it achieves an element of poignancy and sadness as we watch Wiseau try to (badly) deliver his vision. A terrific companion piece to ‘The Room’, and I’d highly recommend checking both films out (preferably at a cinema!).
Directed By: James Franco
Starring: James Franco, Dave Franco, Seth Rogen, Alison Brie, Ari Graynor, Josh Hutcherson, Jacki Weaver, Zac Efron, Hannibal Buress, Andrew Santino, June Diane Raphael, Nathan Fielder, Brian Huskey, Sharon Stone, Melanie Griffith, Paul Scheer, Jason Mantzoukas and Megan Mullally