“Welcome to Daliland” Captain Moore announces as he guides young gallery worker James Linton through a party hosted by famed surrealist, Salvador Dali. Awaiting him are a menagerie of extravagantly dressed characters wandering around aimlessly while the artist spouts gibberish about God and eroticism. Not that different from the rest of the movie really. Welcome to Daliland indeed.
Assuming the role of Dali’s assistant for the duration of his stay in New York, Linton is tasked with ensuring the artist produces enough work to fill a blank wall for his upcoming exhibition. However, Dali seems more interested in a different kind of exhibitionism, expressing himself at parties rather than on the canvas. Though Gala (his wife and muse) strives to keep Dali productive, she seems more motivated by a desire to fund the musical ambitions of her lover. Meanwhile Linton avails himself of all that Daliland has to offer, be it drugs or threesomes while the artist looks on and masturbates.
It’s a scene reminiscent of Little Ashes, in which a young Dali was portrayed by Robert Pattinson. An almost mute Ezra Miller takes on this role in Daliland, a fate one wishes befell Ben Kingsley as the older Dali. What limited screen time is dedicated to the artist is primarily occupied by Kingsley spewing forth a stream of consciousness, reducing Dali to a pretentious bore. The film’s fatal mistake is that in doing so, Daliland becomes one itself.
Over twenty years ago, director Mary Harron made her film debut with I Shot Andy Warhol. In her second attempt at depicting the chaotic world of an eccentric artist, Harron has once more drawn a blank.
as Salvador Dali
as Salvador Dali
as Amanda Lear
as Alice Cooper
James Linton is a fictional character.