Final Portrait: Film Review

As a fan of Stanley Tucci‘s acting work, I had to check Final Portrait which he wrote and directed, and it’s a delightful if forgettable study on the dark side of genius.

It is told in a small scale biopic about Swiss painter and sculptor Alberto Giacometti (Geoffrey Rush) who offers to paint a portrait of writer James Lord (Armie Hammer) on his final day in Paris. It is supposed to take a few hours but Giacometti has a crisis of confidence and refuses to do more for the day. Lord repeatedly delays his flights to sit for Giacometti, who barely makes any progress before giving in once again, over the course of two weeks.

The film is set over a two-week period but it felt like we were watching something that went on for months and months. It feels much longer than its 90 minutes run time and is rather repetitive due the structure of it – Lord sitting for the painting each day. It becomes exasperating – “just finish the goddamn thing” I kept thinking, wishing Lord would just give up and take the portrait home in its unfinished state. But I guess this forces us to realise how Lord is thinking.

Rush was fantastic as this crumpled, tortured talent who has no faith in his abilities. He drinks and smokes a lot, has an obsession with his muse (Clemence Poesy) and is generally grumbling and depressed. Hammer was a great addition too although he didn’t get to show much range except amusement, astonishment and exasperation. I wasn’t sure about all the accents – Rush’s sounded vaguely European and Poesy’s was odd – she sounded French when speaking in French but had an RP English accent sometimes when speaking in English. Bizarre.

This isn’t going to have mass appeal but it has a nice story and a great cast and is a pleasant way to spend 90 mins.

In cinemas Friday 18th August

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