“Gucci is missing!! The Gucci shop is now closed.” In this microbudget independent film by Michael M Bilandic, an art gallery owner laments as anti-lockdown demonstrators riot through New York’s chichi SoHo.
It’s a witty parody that pokes fun at the art world’s arrogance, and there’s a decent number of jabs here. However, criticizing contemporary art of being all glitz and no substance isn’t exactly a difficult target to hit.
Nate, an aged enfant terrible whose career has taken a plunge, is played by Keith Poulson, an arrogant performance artist. He’s now trying to claw his way back by doing a cheap stunt. Nate plans to spend 120 days in a metal cage in a Manhattan gallery, surviving on a diet of creepy crawlies. His sole companion is a cute-looking robot that has been programmed to zap him multiple times a day with electric shocks.
Unfortunately for Nate’s return plans, the gallery has been forced to shut due to lockdown and disturbances. Nate refuses to give up, so his flamboyant gallerist (a heavy-handed Jason Grisell) brings in two private security guards to defend him from the mob.
There’s Ace (Theodore Bouloukos), a Covid-denying Gulf War veteran, and Evan (Hunter Zimny), an enthusiastic student who reminded me of dumb cousin Greg in Succession. We’re stuck in the gallery with the shutters down for the remainder of the movie, listening to the three quarrel over everything from gun control to contemporary art.
Nate is infuriatingly patronizing, and the more he speaks, the more he reveals himself to be a fame-hungry lousy performer.
When the electricity goes out, it’s the ideal time. After all, Nate constructed a robot, so surely he can repair the electric circuits, adds Evan. No, that’s not it. The engineering for the robot was done by a team of 50 people in Japan, not by Nate. “But I built it intellectually,” Nates sniffs arrogantly. It’s a hilarious scenario.