We should never punish a film for having ambition; the ambition here is commendable. It's just that it's part claustrophobic character study, part ragtag arthouse experiment, with blaring music and fart sounds to boot. What can audiences make of this?
At one point one of the characters, Gore, declares to the other key character, Keaton, "Your film sucked - in a beautiful way". Sure, this might well be a self-referential line, one intended to pre-empt criticism of Friend of the World, but if there is an element of heading off criticism at the pass here, then perhaps there's also a sense that this film may not work fully well on its own merits. It badly needed to commit to something - oddness, aesthetics, or plot. A film cannot, after all, simply turn out to be an essay about film.