Tuesday, November 17, 2020

The Last Vermeer Review: A Meticulously Crafted Historical Mystery

Daan Aufenacker	...	Officier Firing Squad Claes Bang	Claes Bang	...	Captain Joseph Piller Matt Beauman-Jones	Matt Beauman-Jones	...	Lieutenant Colonel (as Matt Jones) Mark Behan	Mark Behan	...	Bulldogs Friend Paul Bentall	Paul Bentall	...	Chief Judge Daniël Brongers	Daniël Brongers	...	Civillian Witold Brzoska	Witold Brzoska	...	German Officer Kim Chapman	Kim Chapman	...	Party Girl Richard Curtis	Richard Curtis	...	Lieutenant US Marine Corps Peter Dawson	Peter Dawson	...	American Soldier Truus de Boer	Truus de Boer	...	Photographer Dieuwke de Mooij	Dieuwke de Mooij	...	Stand-In for leading actress Vicky Krieps Guido Den Broeder	Guido Den Broeder	...	Civilian August Diehl	August Diehl	...	Alex De Klerks Richard Dillane	Richard Dillane	...	Colonel Jenkins

In Theaters: November 20, 2020
Run Time: 118 Minutes
Rated: R
Starring: Guy Pearce, Claes Bang, Vicky Krieps
Director: Dan Friedkin

While Joseph Piller (Bang), a Dutch Jew, was fighting in the Resistance during the Second World War, the witty, debonair aesthete, Han van Meegeren (Pearce) was hosting hedonistic soirées and selling Dutch art treasures to Hermann Goring and other top Nazis. Following the war, Piller becomes an investigator assigned the task of identifying and redistributing stolen art, resulting in the flamboyant van Meegeren being accused of collaboration — a crime punishable by death. But, despite mounting evidence, Piller, with the aid of his assistant (Krieps), becomes increasingly convinced of Han's innocence and finds himself in the unlikely position of fighting to save his life.

Produced by  Sabine Brian	...	producer: the Netherlands Gino Falsetto	...	executive producer Danny Friedkin	...	producer Ryan Friedkin	...	producer Richard Goodwin	...	co-producer Peter Heslop	...	executive producer Elwin Looije	...	line producer Ridley Scott	...	executive producer    Directed by  Dan Friedkin	Writing Credits   Jonathan Lopez	...	(based on the book "The Man Who Made Vermeers" by)   John Orloff	...	(as 'James McGee') James McGee	 Mark Fergus	 Hawk Ostby
The Last Vermeer is based on a historical event, and the film definitely errs on the side of accuracy.  The Last Vermeer has a meticulously crafted post-World War II Holland that feels like a country trying to fix itself after the war.  There are period appropriate touches throughout that make you feel like you are watching history unfold.  And the film has some fantastic acting that is headlined by Guy Pearce's amazing performance as Han van Meegeren.  As you would expect, he convincingly portrays the controversial figure with a flair and arrogance that seems exactly as I expected the man to be.  And he also completely transforms, changing his mannerisms and appearance to portray this man.  And Claes Bang does a great job as Piller, the man tasked with tracking down stolen art and ultimately who comes to believe Meegeren.  Piller is more by the book, but he does give Bang some opportunities to stretch his dramatic chops.  And Piller's friend and bulldog also does a great job, taking the hits for Piller when needed and helping to move the story along.  The acting in this film is really crucial to keep your interest; the movie is a slow one but the acting and attention to the period will keep you interested and keep your attention.

The story of The Last Vermeer is slow to develop.  Like the time itself, the movie focuses a lot on reconstructing Holland after the war.  But it is not just a structural reconstruction, but also focuses on renewing the faith of the people and on the personal growth of those who fought in the war.  And this is highlighted by the aforementioned attention to detail.  It really does transport you to post-war Holland, and lets you experience the reconstruction and all the internal conflicts that occurred after the war.  And despite the film's story being relatively slow, like any great work of art, it slowly layers on the elements stroke by stroke, to paint you a whole picture.  I did not mind the slow pace, and I especially liked the trial scene towards the end.  It was well done and entertaining and picked up the pace from the story.  And another aspect of this movie that helped focus your interest was the stellar score, which really didn't overpower any aspect of the film, but just helped to add another layer on it. 

The Last Vermeer is a work of historical art, with meticulously crafted characters, an attention to historical detail, and a mystery that slowly reveals itself with each story brushstroke.

Watch it.

Art Forgery Art History World War II Nazis Germany Holland Dutch Vermeer Painting Paint oil Paint Forge swindle steal movies movie in theater theaters
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The Last Vermeer is available in theaters on November 20, 2020.  For showtimes, click here.

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