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FILM REVIEW: Final Portrait @ Tyneside Cinema

August 26, 2017 11:00 am

23rd August.

For more Tyneside Cinema listings, click here.

Directed by Stanley Tucci.

Starring: Geoffrey Rush, Armie Hammer, Clémence Poésy,Tony Shalhoub

Review by Adam Turnbull.  

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The Final Portrait is an absorbing, complex film directed and written by Stanley Tucci. The film stars Geoffrey Rush as the self-destructive and anguished sculptor Alberto Giacometti, who is asked by the American writer James Lord (played by Armie Hammer) to paint him. But little does Lord know the tortured days of sittings he will have to endure, due to the perfectionist artist Alberto, whose tangled, destructive personal life the writer becomes an unfortunate witness too.

Playing alongside the two main stars are Sylvie Testud – as Alberto’s long-suffering wife, who endures much pain due to Alberto’s lover and muse, Caroline (played by Clémence Poésy), whose parasitic relationship with Alberto brings nothing but unhappiness to the already desolate and contradictive artist. The  film wonderfully depicts the painter’s anguished, ever-changing moods as the baroque, crumbling graveyard Alberto and James Lord walk through in-between sittings –to the bleak, derelict studio and cafés, which slowly brighten over the course of the film to reflect Alberto’s art slowly progressing.

Geoffrey Rush was born to play the distraught, complex artist in this unflinching biopic. With his woe-begotten lined face, greying hair and weather-beaten rain jacket, he seems with every word and action to depict the artist’s doomed eternal search to show the small, fleeting beauty he sees in the world. Really, that is what the film is about; how every artist’s task to depict beauty can be filled with pain and peril, although the film does show some hope that it is possible – even towards the end. However, in my opinion the film’s runtime of 90 minutes is a little too short to fully express these themes. But nevertheless, a superb gem for movie-goers that is heartily recommended for those brave enough to try it.



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