Final Portrait DVD Reviewed By Jarred Tito

The Premise
In 1964, while on a short trip to Paris, the American writer and art-lover James Lord (Armie Hammer) is asked by his friend, the world-renowned artist Alberto Giacometti (Geoffrey Rush), to sit for a portrait. The process, Giacometti assures Lord, will take only a few days. Flattered and intrigued, Lord agrees, so, begins not only the story of an offbeat friendship, but, seen through the eyes of Lord, an insight into the beauty, frustration, profundity and, at times, downright chaos of the artistic process. FINAL PORTRAIT is a portrait of a genius, and of a friendship between two men who are utterly different, yet increasingly bonded through a single, ever-evolving act of creativity. It is a film which shines a light on the artistic process itself, by turns exhilarating, exasperating and bewildering, questioning whether the gift of a great artist is a blessing or a curse.

The Review
An intriguing story that delivers a soft punch to the stomach but not without leaving you wanting more. Geoffrey Rush can always be expected to give an outstanding performance when taking on a character role. His portrayal of Alberto Giacometti is quite breath taking. The make-up artist/s should be noted as well for their remarkable make over. If I didn’t know that Geoffrey Rush was in the film I could have sworn that they must have resurrected Giacometti himself. However, it was actually Armie Hammer’s performance as James Lord that really kept the movie going forward. He plays an American art enthusiast who is fortunate enough to meet one of his favorite artists. When asked to pose for him, he cannot refuse. Hammer is charming, calculated and cool in this film. He displays a maturity as an actor that I’ve not seen in a performance to date from him. He commands respect in every scene he is in, which is not an easy mark to hit when you are playing the passive role to Rush’s explosive Giacometti.

The film really is a talking piece with not a lot of plot apart from the occasional stroll down the equivalent of ‘memory lane’ as Giacometti reveals to Lord some of his more off guard social traits and less desirable work ethics and financial maneuvers.

Final Portrait is a light-hearted look at the famous artist in his last days. It is possibly an accurate depiction of how the impressionist and expressionist actually lived. My memories of Vincent Van Gogh’s life as portrayed in the book, ‘Lust For Life’ had similar complications. Rush certainly takes the opportunity to display the more extreme character traits of Giacometti. Carefree, passionate and completely unpredictable. It must have been a fun but intense role to play.

I was not sure what to expect considering the story is based on the final days of an eccentric artist. The film could have been an extreme gallop of pace or a gentle retelling of a day gone by. Instead it was neither. The pace is slow but not predictable. The characters are simple yet interesting. The mood the film is never tense yet within the story there are several situations which are very intense. For me, the temperament of the film was almost like one of Giacometti’s paintings or sculptures. The subject matter is obvious but somehow the interpretation is masked and shrouded in mystery that will leave you with questions.

The Verdict
An interesting film to watch. It certainly has some very good performances throughout. I would say that the pace and subject matter is definitely for those who enjoy an even and simplistic story. There is nothing in the film that tries to over inflate or exaggerate the lifestyle of Giacometti. Be prepared for a relaxing story that has its moments of fun and quirkiness.

The Trailer

The Info
DVD Releases: 21st February 2018
Rating: M – Contains Nudity, offensive language & sexual content
Duration: 90 minutes 
Genre:  Drama
Starring: Armie Hammer, Clémence Poésy, Geoffrey Rush
Director: Stanley Tucci (Blind Date)

The Extras
Alberto Giacometti was born in Borgonovo, now part of the Switzerland municipality of Bregaglia, near the Italian border. He was a descendant of Protestant refugees escaping the inquisition. His brothers Diego and Bruno would go on to become artists as well. "Pointing Man" sold for $126 million, $141.3 million with fees, in Christie's May 11, 2015 Looking Forward to the Past sale in New York, a record for a sculpture at auction. The work had been in the same private collection for 45 years.

London doubled for Paris in the film because they couldn't afford to film in Paris. Filming took place over a week and a half and CGI was used to make it look like Paris. According to Tucci, it was cheaper for a small film to use CGI than to visit the real location.

The first film Stanley Tucci directed which he did not act in.