The Disaster Artist
by Toby Woollaston
“I did not hit her! I did naaht! Oh, hai Mark.”—a line immortalised by Tommy Wiseau, arguably the worst director ever to helm a multi-million dollar film. The Disaster Artist tells the true story of the making of his film, The Room, which has been lauded by “fans” as the greatest bad movie ever made. The result is like watching a clown getting shot—an uneasy mix of tragedy and comedy and if there was a bastard-child of Tim Burton’s Ed Wood biopic and Kirk Lazarus (Robert Downey Jr.) from Tropic Thunder, then this’d be it.
James Franco (127 Hours) has boldly stepped into the shoes of the enigmatic Tommy Wiseau and in an ironically comedic take on method acting (he apparently kept in character throughout the directorial process) has directed and starred in his own film about a person who directs and stars in his own film … don’t dwell on the meta too hard, just go with it.
The film focusses on the relationship between Wiseau and actor Greg Sestero (played by James’ brother, Dave Franco), spanning from their first meeting to The Room’s climactic premiere. Backed by a seemingly bottomless bank account, Wiseau develops, produces, directs and stars in The Room (NOT to be confused with the Abrahamson’s masterpiece, Room), despite having little knowledge of filmmaking. The ensuing train-wreck is a dexterous melange of humour and humiliation that is funny, sharp, and spiteful when it needs to be.
Much of the film’s success hinges on James Franco’s performance as Tommy Wiseau, and thankfully he delivers a convincing portrayal. When Wiseau’s antics begin to stretch beyond the unbelievable the film is clever enough to ground itself through the reactions of Wiseau’s cast and crew—all who respond to Wiseau’s many WTF moments with what we, the audience, are all thinking … is this guy for real? Yes folks, he is and The Disaster Artist might just usher in the golden era of Tommy Wiseau. Naaht a bad film at all.
Read the full review for the NZ Herald here.