The new movie called FINAL PORTRAIT is based on the real experiences of a man who once posed for a famous twentieth century artist. But in spite of spite of some fine acting, I can’t recommend this film.
Geoffrey Rush stars as twentieth century artist, Alberto Giacometti.
Rush won an Oscar a couple of decades ago, and he gives a fine performance in this movie.
The problem is that the artist he portrays is rude, selfish, arrogant and overall, insufferable, and the screenplay of FINAL PORTRAIT has no dramatic structure.
In 1964 artist Alberto Giacometti asked writer James Lord to sit for a portrait.
Wife: Your my husband’s next victim.
Giacometti: Lower your chin; a little to the right. Not so far. Stay there.
Armie Hammer, who starred in last year’s CALL ME BY YOUR NAME, plays James Lord, the writer and art critic who agreed to pose for the artist.
Artist: You have the head of a brute.
Lord: Gee thanks.
Artist: You look like a real thug.
Lord: Thank you.
Artist: If I was to paint you as I see you now and a policeman was to see this painting, you’d be thrown in jail just like that.
This kind of abuse continues for the entire film. Giacometti tells Lord that painting his portrait will take only a few hours, but the process goes on and on and over and over Lord postpones his trip home to New York.
Lord: I feel this could go on for months.
Wife: Sometimes it does.
Giacometti keeps saying that the portrait will never be finished and he repeatedly expresses doubts about his own talent.
Lord: Have you always been like this?
Artist: Like what?
Lord: So doubtful of your own ability.
Artist: Of course. It gets worse every year.
Lord: But you’ve become more successful every year.
Artist: What better breeding ground for doubt than success.
The only person the artist treats well is his mistress, a prostitute. He buys her a new car, caring nothing about how his wife feels about the arrangement.
I won’t tell you how the story turns out, but I will say there’s no real payoff at the end. For me, the talent of this famous artist does not excuse his bad behavior or even make him interesting for that matter.
Terry Hunter, Hawaii News Now. firstname.lastname@example.org