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The Best Offer (Melbourne International Film Festival 2013) - Film Review

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by Nadine Cresswell-Myatt (subscribe)
Freelance writer exploring Melbourne and beyond. If you enjoy the following article click on the Like button, Facebook it to your friends or subscribe. I'll update you with yummy and often free events. Like my photos? I instagram @redbagwilltravel
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Film starring Geoffrey Rush

There is a rush of Geoffrey in this movie. Too much so. While he is as ever our consummate performer, it is a challenge for him to hold our attention for 124 minutes when director Giuseppe Tornator places him in nearly every frame.

But there is a reason for his perennial presence. The film is about an upmarket antique auctioneer Virgil Oldman (Geoffrey Rush) who falls in love with an agoraphobic young woman Claire Ibbotson (Sylvia Hoeks), without actually seeing her for much of the duration of the movie.

He must spend an inordinate time talking to a wall (she has hidden herself behind) for much of the movie.

This is to a degree compensated for by rest of the settings. There is Oldman's glitzy European world of art collections, million dollar apartments and the high society of art collectors crazed by a passion to possess beautiful objects.

In contrast there is the gothic mansion where the young woman is holed up. While set in the present, the atmosphere is positively Dickensian with Oldman costumed in long Victorian like coats stepping into what looks like Miss Havisham's lair -- stuffed with antiques and cobwebs.

Where the film falls down is in the first half which is overdrawn and keeps hammering home the same points. Oldman is not a nice character, he is deceitful, a clever rogue, but also sad and lonely. Okay, heard you, got it, got it, GOT IT. Now move on?

But director Tornatore keeps roasting us long after we are over done.

But there are a number of intriguing elements that do keep the audience riveted. There is the love story - boy meets girl - or in this case old man (Oldman) meets young girl and the lovers have a real obstacle to overcome - an actual wall!

There is the pub (come tearoom) across the road with its intriguing character of a deformed young woman with savant syndrome, who you know has to figure somewhere importantly in the movie, but how? Then there are the mysterious cogs and wheels that Oldman finds in Claire's house which he knows are part of something incredibly significant. But what?

Like Oldman, we really want to construct a solution with all the bits of evidence we are given.

Oldman enlists the aid of mechanical genius Robert (Jim Sturgess) to put the pieces of the 18th century gadget together.

But Robert seems as hell bent on encouraging Oldman into a relationship with this mystery woman as he is in constructing the mystery object.

"Intriguing" might be the best word to describe this unusual film. There are problems including the fact that Geoffrey Rush does not shine throughout but there are enough highlights to ensure you will mostly enjoy this film.

I wouldn't rush to it but put it on your MIFF calendar as one worth considering.

And I would probably see it twice. The second time with hindsight, after knowing the ending, to read more into the minor characters and the guarded dialogue which in fact says it all.

There are sessions for this movie at the Melbourne International Film Festival on 31st of July and the 2nd of August. For tickets click here.

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*Nadine Cresswell-Myatt was invited as a guest
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Why? For Geoffrey Rush lovers
Where: Forum Theatre (Wed 31 Jul ) / ACMI (Fri 2 Aug)
Your Comment
Yes,Best offer has its flaws,it is just a movie without pretense to be "profound"
What's wrong with being entertaining?And great photography.
And beats the heck out of the crap produced by Netflix
by bobca (score: 0|2) 949 days ago
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