Have you ever asked yourself, “Who decides if art is beautiful?” If beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder, why are certain artistic works held in high regard while others get shunned? We explore this controversial grey area in the exciting film The Last Vermeer.
Set just after WWII, The Last Vermeer tells the thrilling true story about a soldier investigating renowned Dutch artist Han van Meegeren (Guy Pearce), who is accused of conspiring with the Nazis. As Captain Joseph Piller (Claes Bang) continues his investigation, he becomes convinced of van Meegeren’s innocence and finds himself an integral figure in his survival.
Van Meegeren was an artist who never passed on the chance to flex his artistic prowess. He relished his moments of glory and attention like any true narcissist would. Words like acumen, aptitude, genius, brilliance, and flair, were not unfamiliar to him. He’s a good example of how great artistic talent, without guidance, can wind up doing unimaginable things. It’s also an example of how artists of various types (painters, chefs, musicians) can allow scrutiny from outsiders and critics to uplift or derail their direction. After going through a route of menacing critics at an exhibition, our aspiring artist loses his way and resorts to a creative’s type of guerrilla tactic to get by.
After Captain Piller took van Meegeren into custody, he became more of a visitor than a prisoner. Piller had one job and that was to figure out who was working with the Nazis, specifically in the art realm. So when our arrogant artist crossed his path, he eventually laid bread crumbs for Piller, following a trail of money and navigating a web of lies.
Guy Pearce and Claes Bang do an amazing job in this post-WWII thriller. The acting was solid and the high-quality jeering by Pearce brought back sweet memories of Niles & Fraser Crane.
I give The Last Vermeer a 9 out of 10. Van Meegeren brought up a good point in, “Who decides what is art?” It’s always a specialist or an expert to his point, but you rarely ever find actual artists in this position. Shouldn’t artists be judging art? He provided a fine argument for this and will surely have viewers doing research of their own, not just for art, but for policy as well. Don’t be surprised if you hear about this film come awards season.
The Last Vermeer will open in theaters Friday, November 20.
Photo: Courtesy of TriStar Pictures ©2020 CTMG. All Rights Reserved