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'Paint' review: A portrait of privilege

Movie Reviews

‘Paint’ review: A portrait of privilege

A portrait of a young white man as a struggling artist.

Paint foreshadows its biggest problem early on. As Dan Pierson (Josh Caras) complains about how hard his life, the married woman he is sleeping with reminds him he is rich and has a nice place to live. He answers he is white so of course he has white person problems. It is as if the movie is defending itself for the inevitable complaints.

Instead, writer-director Michael Walker shines a spotlight on the issue. Fairly or not, the reminder of Paint is colored by this statement. Which is a shame since it has some strong performances and funny moments. Paint is about a group of struggling artists trying to break into the New York City art scene. Ideas and success are constantly out of reach. Along the way, they learn something about life and themselves.

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The movie is as pretentious as it sounds. Conversations center around terms and ideas that only an art student could truly appreciate. Almost all of the characters live in spacious lofts. (With the exception of Quinn who lives in a stylish messy studio.) Once Dan reveals his big plan to peer into his dark artistic self is to unironically paint a nude of his mother, Paint seems like it is going to be unwatchable.

As it turns out, the film manages to have lots of bright spots. Paint boasts strong performances from Olivia Luccardi and David Patrick Kelly. There are also some genuinely funny scenes throughout the movie. If only it were not so erratic. Paint suffers from serious pacing issues. The subplot involving Dan’s mom goes from weird to amusing to serious. Things also move quickly before slowing down suddenly. Relationships, start, stop, and restart so fast it is hard to keep up with.

This may be Walker’s entire point. All of the characters need to be fulfilled in some way. For some, it is money while others have a hole in their personal lives. Artists are held up to such a high standard, it seems obvious Paint is laughing at itself. Unfortunately, that does not seem to be the case. The movie is filled with privileged characters that are hard to relate to or even like. Despite all it does right, Paint fails to impress.

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