At the end of World War II in Amsterdam, "The Last Vermeer" delves into the true story of famed art forger Han van Meegeren.
Haven't heard of him? You're probably not alone.
Van Meegeren's story, once the talk of the town, is now a nearly forgotten tale. So it's an opportune chance for Dan Friedkin to make his directing debut with a fascinating character.
Though it can be hard to captivate the audience for the entire two-hour run time, Guy Pearce's portrayal as van Meegeren will make audiences both scratch their heads and laugh at his whip-smart dialogue.
THE LAST VERMEER - Official Trailer (HD) - In Theaters November 20 www.youtube.com
The movie begins with a Nazi collaborator who is shot in the street by a firing squad as Joseph Piller (Claes Bang) looks on.
Piller is a Jewish former member of the Resistance who works for the Allied provisional government. One day, he is tasked with finding who sold Hermann Goering a painting called "Christ and the Adulteress" by Johannes Vermeer for about 2 million guilders.
In his investigation with his muscle man Esper (Roland Møller), the duo finds van Meegeren who seems to be an enigma. He claims to be innocent on his Nazi collaboration accusations and despise the Fascist powers, yet he manages to live a luxurious lifestyle during the war and hosts parties with Nazis in attendance. What is first an intellectual art crime drama turns out to be a courtroom retelling of van Meegeren's fate in the last act. Adapted from Jonathan Lopez's book "The Man Who Made Vermeers," this film shows how far mankind can go when desperate for survival.
Bang's portrayal of Pillar is solid. But Pearce is the standout between the two. During the entire first two acts, Meegeren is a very mindful character who leads Esper and Joseph on wild goose chases and dropping breadcrumb clues. But he's consistently a very witty, electric character whom audiences don't know to cheer for or scold.
The adapted screenplay could've been tweaked a bit to cut the film's run time. Especially because the movie could've avoided a romantic subplot, which the creators seemed to realize since the subplot wasn't revisited or given a substantial close besides a couple of scenes.
Having said that, the film is pretty to look at. Viewers don't often see a vibrantly-colored post-WWII film, and some of the angles are simple yet creative to add a little flair to the story.
If you're itching to watch a new historical drama film, "Vermeer" could be the one for you.
"The Last Vermeer" is in theaters starting Friday, November 20, 2020.
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