Directed by the well-known actor Stanley Tucci, Final Portrait tells the story of the painter and sculptor “Alberto Giacometti” (Geoffrey Rush). While being involved in an art gallery show, Alberto meets a young writer; James Lord (Armie Hammer). Alberto offers to paint James, questioning if he would like to sit for one of his portraits. Being a follower and fan of Alberto’s work, James is naturally flattered and cannot resist the offer. Alberto tells James that it should only take about 3 hours to paint the portrait and it shouldn’t interfere with his personal or work life.
This, of course, is a story about a portrait that took longer than 3 hours to paint.
While both actors are very well respected in Hollywood today, when I first heard about who the two main leads were in this film, I thought to myself, what an exciting combination for the lead roles in drama motion picture. Geoffrey Rush is incredible here. Once again, we have an outstanding performance, and he continues to prove that he still gives 100% when it comes to his acting career. As he plays this painter ‘Alberto’, there are so many mannerisms utilised that it makes you forget this is Geoffrey Rush. Alberto drags his feet, walks slow, mumbles to himself, swears, has a bad back (slightly hunched) the list goes on. And maybe I’m a horrible person, but it was so much fun to see Geoffrey Rush roll his eyes and swear when he wasn’t satisfied with his artwork.
As for the actor Armie Hammer, he too, has done very well. Their dialogue bounces off each other well. Hammer’s character is a true gentleman who will do anything to please not only Alberto, but also someone who enjoys knowing more about the well-known painter personally and tries to understand his passion. Throughout the film, he also learns how Alberto’s passion can also lead to frustration. In due time, the two develop a great friendship even though both men are very different and not alike.
While I enjoyed the acting to the point I could have stood and clapped my hands at my cinema screen, it breaks my heart to discuss the directional flaws or annoyances. Characters walking and talking, sitting and eating at a restaurant and then sitting in a room all sound like basic filming, but, the camera is shaky at multiple moments, leaving me to feel disappointed. In one particular scene, the two leads have a deep discussion and Geoffrey Rush is providing a significant moment, but the camera work was so poor it would make you think the scene was filmed on a boat. The film’s ending also felt incredibly rushed, and as the credits rolled on the screen. The film provides such a story and build up but gives the audiences a quick farewell along with its rushed voiced-over narration.
Overall, I found this film positive. The biggest highlights are watching an outstanding portrayal of Alberto from Geoffrey Rush and witnessing a dramatic story of unexpected friendship. The directional choices for some of the filming and editing ended up becoming a bigger distraction to certain critical moments to the story.
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Review Written by Peter Walkden