Posts Tagged ‘Klaus Bang’

Guy Pearce

“THE LAST VERMEER”  My rating: B- (Opens in theaters Nov. 20)

117 minutes | MPAA rating: R

In “The Last Vermeer” Aussie Guy Pearce delivers a hugely entertaining performance as Han van Meergren, a charmingly decadent artiste and all-round roue in post-war Copehagen.

Oozing hedonistic hubris, intellectual arrogance and casual amorality through his Einstein-level frizzy gray hair and mustache, Pearce’s van Meergren is the center of attention whenever he appears on screen.

Which, sad to say, isn’t nearly often enough. For though he is arguably the most important character in
Dan Friedkin’s “The Last Vermeer” he — like Orson Welles’ Harry Lime in “The Third Man” — gets relatively little screen time.

The screenplay (credited to John Orloff, James McGee, Mark Fegus and Hawk Ostby…very nearly a case of too many cooks) is based on real events.

The Nazis have been defeated and Jospeh Piller (Claes Bang), a Dane who fled the occupation to fight in the Canadian army, has been assigned the task of tracking down art masterpieces stolen by the Germans. His job is to return these priceless objects to their rightful owners (in may cases Jewish families) and prosecute the  collaborators who made the pillaging possible.

A previously unknown Vermeer painting — recovered from a Berlin-bound train and intended for Herman Goering’s personal collection — sets Pillar on a quest.  He’s accompanied by thuggish aide Esper (Roland Moller) who provides muscle when it’s needed and by the investigative genius Minna (Vicky Krieps).

Their sleuthing leads them to van Meergren, a failed painter who was known to have partied with the Germans and who somehow became fabulously rich during the war — presumably by selling pilfered masterpieces to the enemy.   If that is indeed the case, van Meergren faces the death penalty. Collaborators are daily being executed in Copenhagen’s public squares.


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