The Last Vermeer
Guy Pierce- Han Van Meegeren
Claes Bang- Cpt. Joseph Pillar
Vicky Krieps- Minna Holmberg
Guy Pierce is an artist accused of selling valuable works of art to the Nazis, but is he?
Johannes Vermeer was a Dutch painter from the late 1600’s during the Baroque period and specialized in portraits of the middle class. Some of his most famous works were the famous paintings “The Girl with the Pearl Earring” and “The Astronomer” and others that currently hang in museums around the world. The new drama from Tri Star Pictures, “The Last Vermeer” tells the tale of the works of the famous painter, stolen by the Nazis during WWII and tracked down and recovered by a group of Allied soldiers led by Captain Joseph Pillar (Bang).
The Last Vermeer opens with Allied troops uncovering a railcar used to take Jewish people to the Nazi concentration camps only to find it loaded with paintings and artifacts procured or stolen by Herman Goering the leader of the SS. One of the paintings in the car was “Christ and the Adulteress” supposedly the final painting by Vermeer. Capt. Pillar with his assistant Minna Holmberg was tasked by the Allies to find the stolen art, find out who sold it or stole it for the Nazis, so it can be returned to the owners or museum.
Pillar tracks down leads that bring him to a local artist Han Van Meegeren, skilled but panned by critics, as the person that sold the Vermeer to Goering for 1.6 million guilders. Van Meegeren, a flamboyant personality and readily admitted to making the sale. Pillar arrested Van Meegeren, but instead of prison, where suspects have mysteriously perished recently, Pillar sets up the artist at the station in the attic under the watchful eye of Pillar’s friend Esper Dekker (Roland Moller).
Dekker was Pillar’s muscle, a boozing brawler that kept the Dutch police at bay when they came for Van Meegeren. Pillar supplied Han with his paints and a canvas so that he can paint while incarcerated during the investigation. The trail led to Dirk Hannema, an art critic and the man who authenticated most of the stolen art. Hannema explained to Pillar that Van Meegeren was a hack artist and was indeed the one that sold the Vermeer to the Nazis. Pillar returned to find the Dutch police had taken Han to prison and was going to stand trial for war crimes that would be punishable by death!
Guy Pearce is amazing in this film and carries it among a virtual unknown cast to us in America. But Roland Moller, Claes Bang and Vicky Krieps are solid in the supporting roles of soldiers tracking down the truth about the Vermeer painting “Christ and the Adulteress” and the painter Han Van Meegeren.
“The Last Vermeer” is a fine WWII drama about a war profiteering artist and an infamous painting he was almost killed for selling. The Last Vermeer is a great reason to get out and socially distance at the local theater for a midday matinee, or most certainly stream it at home when available.
Flickanalysis: 4/5 stars