The Best Offer

The Best Offer

(La migliore offerta)
(2013)

Some forgeries are worth the ultimate price.

Romantic thriller from director Giuseppe Tornatore (Cinema Paradiso), starring Geoffrey Rush as an auction house director growing obsessed with an anonymous heiress who is selling a large art and antiques collection. Set in Italy and Austria, the film co-stars Jim Sturgess, Donald Sutherland and Sylvia Hooks. Winner of six awards at the David di Donatello Awards (Italian Academy Awards), including Best Film and Director.... More

"Virgil Oldman (Rush) is managing director of a leading auction house. He is a man with his own individual style who regularly dyes his hair, never goes out without his finest leather gloves and tries to reveal as little as possible of his emotional world. In a secret hall inside the villa in which he lives alone, he has collected hundreds of masterful, priceless paintings from many different eras. He has succeeded in acquiring these paintings, all of them portraits of women, during his own auctions with the help of his old friend Billy. One day, Oldman receives a special assignment: a mysterious young woman, who refuses to appear in person, asks him to sell her family’s antiques. But Oldman is not only interested in the classical painting, furniture and material on offer. He becomes increasingly fascinated by the mysterious incognito woman, who will only communicate with him from behind thick walls and heavy doors." (Berlin Film Festival)Hide

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Flicks Review

The very things that make The Best Offer such a sublime delight are also the same things that would cripple its narrative if closely scrutinised. This Hitchcock homage, written and directed by Giuseppe Tornatore (of Cinema Paradiso fame), is a creepy, weird, captivating, endearingly awkward concoction, a precious thing of gimmicky preposterousness that one can imagine Brian De Palma going to town with. The plot somehow strings together a snooty germaphobe art-thief/auctioneer (Geoffrey Rush), a relationship-advising mechanical whiz (Jim Sturgess), an 18th century automaton, an agoraphobic mystery woman (Sylvia Hoeks) and an autistic dwarf into a complex design that’s best experienced with as little knowledge as possible.... More

Granted, The Best Offer does have its goofy and clumsy bits that require some adjusting to. Geoffrey Rush’s performance as Virgil Oldman is overplayed enough to feel like it’s taken from a completely different movie. Tornatore’s writing often fails him, creating dialogue that sounds tin-eared, too on-the-nose. And I didn’t, for a second, buy that Hoeks would develop an attraction to the ageing Oldman. But despite all this, and its excessively flabby runtime, The Best Offer is consistently absorbing, and eventually transcends the sum of its parts to emerge an unusual, tragic character piece about an emotionally stunted man who’s only known romance through his vault of painted female portraits he’s amassed from rigging auctions. The final twist may not be surprising, nor make much sense, but it doesn’t underwhelm because it lands with a deeply emotional thud of twisted inevitability that rings true for the film’s protagonist.Hide


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The Press Reviews

63% of critics recommend.
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  • Art world thriller with shades of "Hugo" should be a creatively winning combination... yet beneath the varnish lies a work crying out for proper subtext. Full Review

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