DreadWorld Review: Tabloid Vivant (2016)


"I want to write about this but I'm not sure I know what to say." Tamzin Brown's character Sarah Speed says this line a roughly 31 minutes into Tabloid Vivant. An hour later, after the final images of the film have ended, I too am struggling. While Speed is at a loss describe her avante-guard artist boyfriends revolutionary new painting style. I am in a similar place with writer/director Kyle Broom's latest feature, other than to say it's utterly brilliant - I think. 

Speed, an art journalist and her artist boyfriend Maximilian Klinkau (Jesse Woodrow) hole up in a cabin with a terrible shower and whole lot of inspiration to work on his latest work of art, or more accurately form of art. It's the pursuit of this new type of art that leads them down a dangerous path where art, and the pushing of it's boundaries is more important than personal sanity, safety, or judgement.

Tabloid Vivant will not be a film that every one enjoys. It is and\ art film and I mean that in two distinct ways. It's a film, literally, about art. It dives deep into theories regarding the nature of, creation, and sociological impact of art. It can be at times very technical, Brown and Woodrow share pointed banter regarding art and it's various forms, diving into territory that may both confuse and confound the average ham and egg movie goer. 

While the film is specifically about art, it is also an "art film" in the same way David Lynch or Jodorowsky create "art" films. Broom breaks traditional narrative countless times over the course of the films 100 minute running time. He begins the film somewhere in the middle of the first act, only telling the films beginnings in a series of well timed flashbacks. There are various non sequitur moments laced throughout the first act that seem out of place and odd. There's even a Mel Brooks-ian script reading section to help dispense with some of the usual tedious first act foreplay. .

This hodgepodge of ideas and tones may lead some other film makers astray, but in the capable hands of Broom, the film coalesces into a rich, disturbing tapestry. It's last 20 minutes dovetails together into one of the more unsettling psychological thrillers of the year. I use the term "psychological thriller" on purpose because Tabloid Vivant isn't your traditional horror film. While there are horrific elements, including a nasty little throwback to the Black Dahlia/Elizabeth Short murder, the film is sure to be a let down to those looking for something heavy on the gore. It's a film of the mind and the dangers that can arise when a single goal becomes all that a mind is capable of being occupied with. 

As leads Brown and Woodrow compliment each other wonderfully. Woodrows "artistic James Franco" routine is a little too spot on and does take some time getting used to, but when coupled with the overall quality of Brown's performance and the script, it gets overshadowed by the product as a whole. 

 

Tabloid Vivant is an art film in almost every definable way. It is not a film for everyone. If you are the type of horror fan that tends to gravitate towards the simpler slasher elements of the genre than you might want to skip this one. However, if you like deep psychological thrillers, and are prepared to really watch and almost as important, listen to a film, then Tabloid Viviant is a can't miss film.

If you are in Chicago on July 9th, you can check out Tabloid Vivant on the big screen at the Doc Theater. 

**** 1/2 Stars our of *****

That's it for me. As always, thanks for reading and "enjoy every sandwich."


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