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Film review: The Disaster Artist is a sharply-written, touching and beautifully directed film

PUBLISHED: 09:20 19 December 2017 | UPDATED: 09:20 19 December 2017

Dave Franco as Greg Sestero and James Franco as Tommy Wiseau in The Disaster Artist. Picture: WARNER BROS/JUSTINA MINTZ

Dave Franco as Greg Sestero and James Franco as Tommy Wiseau in The Disaster Artist. Picture: WARNER BROS/JUSTINA MINTZ

Warner Bros/Justina Mintz

Though largely panned upon its release and regularly finding itself at the top of lists of the worst films ever made, Tommy Wiseau’s dire drama The Room (2003) has birthed legions of fans who regularly attend midnight screenings of the film to revel in the sheer awfulness of the whole thing.

The troubled making of this cult sensation and the complex relationship between Wiseau and actor Greg Sestero is the focus of James Franco’s latest directorial outing, The Disaster Artist.

Franco and screenwriters Scott Neustadter and Michael H Webber expertly document the chaotic production of The Room, peppering the film with a number of bleakly comic and farcical exchanges between director/writer/producer/star Wiseau (Franco) - and all those around him.

One bravura sequence sees the exasperated crew desperately try to help their director to remember his lines - to little avail. As Wiseau, Franco is outstanding; in less dextrous hands the foul-tempered, manipulative artist could easily turn into the monstrous caricature perceived by so many of the film’s characters.

Instead, Franco delivers a respectful, sensitive performance, allowing the viewer fully to understand Wiseau’s drive and ambition.

The supporting cast is equally splendid; Franco is particularly impressive as the loyal but increasingly frustrated Sestero and Seth Rogen steals scenes as the perpetually bewildered script supervisor Sandy Schklair.

The Disaster Artist is a sharply-written, touching and beautifully directed film enlivened by a universally superb cast.

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