Art forger painted rings around the Nazis

Guy Pearce in The Last Vermeer (Tristar Pictures)

The Last Vermeer is a historical crime drama that mixes fact and fiction in telling the story of an art forger who defrauded the Nazis of millions of dollars. Source: Jesuit Media.

The film based on the 2008 book The Man Who Made Vermeers by Jonathan Lopez. It is set in Amsterdam shortly after the fall of the Third Reich.

History shows that Dutch folk hero Han van Meegeren (Guy Pearce) sold forgeries of paintings and became suspected of conspiring with the Nazis in World War II.

Van Meegeren attempted to sell a painting he copied by Dutch master-painter Johannes Vermeer. Art critics enthusiastically supported his opinion. It was painted by himself, and he sold it to Adolf Hitler’s second-in-command, Hermann Goring. Goring was known to be a keen collector of fine art, and a person who was willing to pay whatever was necessary to own it.

When van Meegeren was arrested for conspiring with the Nazis and put on trial, Joseph Piller defended him in court. Piller was exasperated by van Meegeren’s evasiveness, but believed that van Meegeren was innocent. The moral core of the film rests firmly with Piller as he tries to navigate the issue of finding the truths that lie behind van Meegeren’s colourful life and egotistical utterances.

The film is handsomely produced. Its cinematography is atmospheric. Its costuming is excellent and the acting is vibrant. Australian actor Pearce, is impressive in his attention-getting portrayal of van Meegeren, and Bang excellently plays Piller, van Meegeren’s investigator-turned supporter. It is Bang who intelligently provides the movie’s protagonist heart-beat.

Reviewed by Peter W Sheehan is an associate of Jesuit Media.

The Last Vermeer: Starring Guy Pearce, Claes Bang, Vicky Krieps, Roland Moller and Olivia Grant. Directed by Dan Friedkin. Rated M (Mature themes, violence and coarse language). 118 min.

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The Last Vermeer (Jesuit Media) 

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