Art School Confidential

Rated 3.0

Jerome (Max Minghella) wants to be the best artist of the 21st century, but his precious Northeastern art school is lousy with hacks and phonies. Worse, Jerome might be a hack and a phony himself. But maybe it doesn’t matter—not if artistic success is just a fraudulent, violent function of celebrity. Clearly, the purposefully misanthropic director Terry Zwigoff has an ally in graphic novelist Daniel Clowes, who adapted the Art School Confidential script from his own work. The Bay Area filmmaking team, last together for 2001’s Ghost World, shares an appreciation for artistic authenticity and a surly exhaustion from being so often unable to find it. It’s fine that this film feels uncomfortable indulging the shopworn tropes of coming-of-age story or black comedy or romance or mystery thriller, but, well, ambivalence is self-propagating. Delectable supporting work from John Malkovich, as the art teacher hunching on the ledge between for real and full of it, and Jim Broadbent, as the embittered has-been art-school graduate, help.