Review: Art Is Dead (2018)

Art Is Dead is a new dark comedy from writer/director/lead actor Luke Oliver which is now available exclusively on Amazon Prime.
The film also stars George Newton (This Is England), Alex Reid & Elika Ashoori. 

“A group of actors, cast aside by the industry, concoct a plan of revenge. Ant, broke and struggling to survive, snaps when he discovers a fellow actor is about to be paid millions for his next role whilst Ant must continue to work in a dingy kitchen. Ant enlists fellow actors in a plan of revenge against the industry. First by kidnapping the famous actor and then pursuing a night of mayhem on CCB channels biggest night on the calendar. A televised night of chaos ensues with Ant and friends making a name for themselves, sacrificing all for their art.

We follow a group of struggling and frustrated performers led by Ant (Luke Oliver); a struggling actor who dreams of landing a role whilst struggling to keep low-paid jobs at a burger van and restaurant and keeping his relationship with girlfriend (Elika Ashoori) afloat. The film plays as a social commentary that in it’s premise sits somewhere between Natural Born Killers and 9 to 5. It plays on our modern ‘cult of celebrity’ focussing on famous actor ‘Benedict Cummabund’ (a straight-up parody of Benedict Cumberbatch), talent show producer ‘Dick Mann’ (the film’s Simon Cowell) and the ‘Humans In Need’ charity event (no prizes for guessing the charity this is a parody of). While rooted in a thread of truth these parodied charecters are extremely exaggerated and twisted versions; in particular the corrupt and despicable CEO of ‘Humans in Need’. As these three strands meet for one night of exciting televison; Ant and his friends find an excuse to get a little revenge on a society which they feel has left them behind.

Whilst this is an interesting and topical subject matter it is to my mind not that well executed or written. The narrative can be a little jumpy and disparate with some time-jump storytelling as different threads are added and played with. However our main characters lack emotional depth and we never really grow attached enough to them to care about their apparent plight. The production value is also that of a student film in places with some very ropey sound production and dialogue through-out however it is ambitious in scope as they manage to create three fully-realised TV events. There is also a suitably ‘indie-film’  down ending which brings the film to an abrupt close.

The film perhaps outstays it’s almost 1.5 hour run-time but does create a fun parody of modern world of celebrity & fame.  3/5

Watch now on Amazon Prime

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