“(Untitled)” Pokes Fun at Modern Art
“(Untitled),” an oddball indie comedy, includes a well-known cast of Adam Goldberg, Vinnie Jones, Marley Shelton and Eion Bailey. “(Untitled”) is directed by Jonathan Parker (who created and spearheaded the edgy and extreme prize-winning movie, “Bartleby,”). The film gives new light to post-contemporary art and music while poking fun at the peculiarity of what they entail, along with the people who create them.
The story opens with Adrian (Goldberg), an eclectic composer obsessed with unconventional sounds. Cacophonous and filled with intermittent screams, squeals and bellows, his music fuses everyday noises such as kicking metal buckets or crumpling sheets of paper, with basic notes of classical instruments. Unfortunately, he performs with his group to unappreciative and minimal audiences.
Adrian’s brother, Josh (Bailey), is a consistently bland artist who doesn’t support Adrian’s music. He meets Josh’s supposed girlfriend, Madeline (Shelton), an art gallery owner and a believer of genuine artistry. She utilizes Josh’s mindlessly dull but commercially profitable work as a means of financial dividend. Perceiving something in Adrian’s work, she offers him the chance to showcase his music. Soon, an affair abruptly springs between Adrian and Madeline, ultimately creating a vicious circle of business and pleasure.
Furthermore, there is the cliché “searching for myself” aspect in the characters who are forced to come to terms with their past failures and views on their work. Parker even takes this theme to another level by progressively peeling back their facades as crazy artists living in contradictory dimensions, revealing the naked personas that remind us of ourselves.
No, you won’t see any action-filled robot aliens, deadly traps of horror or fluffy, gigantic bedtime monsters. Rather, the movie calls for a demographic of thinkers in their 20s and 30’s; young adults pondering and struggling in the harsh world while encountering the daily nonsense and absurd features of the real world.
In “(Untitled),” the element of hilarity consists of the awkward, slapstick and Juno-esque moments, not the crude, stereotypical jokes blatantly used in “White Chicks” or “Bruno.”
On the other hand, the intentions of the film are also satisfyingly and clearly laid out, since it pokes fun at the modern world of art and music. In reality, there are critics who make fun of avant-garde artists and the incongruity of their work with “(Untitled)” showing the audience what are the biased features of that particular field. I myself am a post-modernist art junkie and can relate to and laugh along with the satirical portrayals presented in blatant yet understated ways.
And yet, the movie questions to what extent art can be within the boundaries of the norm. Who are we to say noise isn’t music? Isn’t music a constantly changing experiment? “(Untitled)” compels us to ruminate the walls in our society on an even larger scale. “Who are we to judge what will stand the test of time?”
While the content is abstract, which makes the film unique and a bit refreshing, there is also a touch of amateur and melodramatic element that isn’t necessary. Still, the film was visually appealing, consisting of good shots at intriguing angles with eerie rows of stuffed panda bears and sparkly elephant heads.
The film keeps you engaged with a wide-range of appropriate, modernist music of dissonant sounds in the background comparable to what the protagonist composes. Although strange at first, Parker’s music is enrapturing and amusing.
The actor’s performances, especially those of Goldberg and Shelton’s, are impressive and believable. Thus, an establishment of a personal connection between the characters and viewers is possible. To add some kick to the film, a pathetic fight scene ensues, some use of comically, bleep-needed phrases and brief albeit intense sexual innuendos and scenes.
So, for the average moviegoer, I would be cautious in watching this film. It isn’t that great. Go watch it to enjoy the aesthetic, philosophical and modernistic concepts for that one time only since the film deviates from the norm, giving uniform thematic content along with a number of funny moments.