Paint Image


By Alex Saveliev | December 19, 2020

Paint is a bit diluted when it comes to its message, as it’s by turns biting and cynical, but also hopeful and relatable. Walker’s feature is at its best when mocking the lovable protagonists, most evident in the scene where Dan confronts Quinn about having sex with his mom. To paraphrase Quinn, any rational guy would beat the crap out of someone for sleeping with his mother, but they’re artists, you see? They don’t abide by the established societal rules. “I can’t believe you fu*ked my mother,” Dan exclaims. Quinn’s response? “Come on, we always said we wouldn’t let a chick come between us, right?” It’s those kinds of scathing but tongue-in-cheek indictments of the artistic lifestyle that buoy the movie.

Walker seems aware that his heroes are all privileged, entitled brats, marinating in their own insecurities and indolence. “Talk about white people problems,” Stephanie accuses Dan early on. “I’m white!” Dan exclaims in response. Walker has a great ear for dialogue, clearly having either studied or been part of that clique. “You know there are whole sections of the vintage clothing store where they have clothes that haven’t been taken off the bodies of dead Iraqi soldiers, right?” Brett scolds Kelsey. However, the film’s best line belongs to Dan: “I did not suck his c**k! My chin may have touched it for a second!”

“…scathing but tongue-in-cheek indictments of the artistic lifestyle…buoy the movie.”

The cast is wonderful, transcending their characters’ shallowness and finding humanity and warmth, or at the very least, a genuine passion underneath all the posturing. Amy Hargreaves deserves a special shout out for imbuing Leslie with a depth that may have not even been intended. The scene where Quinn photographs her is both awkward and sexy and one of the movie’s highlights.

Using thick brushes to make its points, Paint examines artistic appropriation, deflated dreams, and reignited aspirations. Walker seems all too aware that he picked an easy target – the art world – to scrutinize (see my recent review of Cory Wexler Grant’s Painter). That said, his film is never too on-the-nose, poking fun at – but also empathizing with – all of us creatives who live on society’s fringes.

Paint (2020)

Directed and Written: Michael Walker

Starring: Josh Caras, Olivia Luccardi, Paul Cooper, François Arnaud, Comfort Clinton, Vince Nappo, Amy Hargreaves, David Patrick Kelly, Austin Pendleton, etc.

Movie score: 7/10

Paint Image

"…by turns biting and cynical, but also hopeful and relatable."

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