There are times when one does not venture out of house, apartment, ranch or tent; weather, frame-of-mind, or general ennui; the lure of the couch, greasy snacks and mindless movies placate the psyche.
ON DEMAND’s fare generally serves the detritus of the film world (with the exception of second-run films); movies not generally released, hibernating in the limbo of films, that should have never been made: “Adore”, “The Truth About Emanuel”, “Maniac” tip the scales of bad taste, perversion and the most mortal of sins, boredom.
“Best Offer” is one the “best” first-run “offered” ON DEMAND in eons; entertaining, mysterious, immaculately, beautifully filmed. Geoffrey Rush’s performance as art auctioneer “Virgil Oldman” is pure, solid platinum; refined, brilliant, a lonely, meticulous aesthete, he ferrets out forgeries and is blissfully divine on the auctioneer’s pedestal. He has an unsavory, greedy lust for works of women by major artists; “Billy” a second rate painter (potently creepy, Donald Sutherland) aids Virgil in his clandestine quest for “female” conquests, acquisitions; housed and pristinely curated in Virgil’s breathtaking penthouse. Virgil tells Billy the “the love of art and the knowledge of how to hold a brush, doesn’t make an artist”. Haunting, true, prescient.
Enter “Claire” (lovely Sylvia Hoeks) an agoraphobic, whose parents have died and she has reluctantly decided to auction vast treasures in their decaying estate. The film hinges on Virgil’s obsessive attraction to Claire and his “Cupid” advisor “Robert” (Jim Stugress) a friend and a genius mechanic”; Virgil and Robert’s relationship revolves around the creation of an automaton, comprised from disparate parts discovered in Clair’s basement; shadows of George Melies films, and the more recent “Hugo”.
The plot careens off course, sadly, ineffectively imitates Hitchcock; overly manipulative, but cemented my attention for its entirety; Virgil’s plight was sufficient, succinct enough to keep me glued to the couch.
TWO & 3/4 STARS!!