Menu

Cinema Review: The Final Portrait

You would be forgiven for imagining that Paris in the swingin’ sixties was a vibrant, colourful city. There is no hint of that, however, in Stanley Tucci’s movie about the famous Swiss artist Alberto Giacometti (Geoffrey Rush). The story covers a three-week period in 1964 during which Giacometti (better known for his sculptures) painted the portrait of James Lord (Armie Hammer), a young American journalist. Most of the scenes are shot in Giacometti’s grungy grey studio – it may indeed have been exactly how he worked, but the atmos is about as uplifting as splattered wet cement. Why Lord, whose character is written with next to no insight, should have been so enamoured with Giacometti is also not obviously apparent, for he is not an easily likeable man. ‘Genius’ is far too readily accepted as a saving grace for rudeness, gruffness and selfishness, and the chain-smoking Giacometti seems to have possessed all of those unfortunate traits in abundance.

The inexplicable ‘hallelujah’ moment of creativity experienced by the artist is never delivered, but is replaced instead by a lot of boring talk. And, as someone who is not a great fan of Giacometti, considering him to be a one-trick pony who inspired a lot of awful copyists, it reflects poorly on the man whom he might have been so scathing of, Pablo Picasso. When the location moves from the studio to the streets and cafes, the ambiance is stuck somewhere between La Belle Epoch and the Stein/Toklas era – I half expected Toulouse Lautrec or Hemingway to wander into the bordello frequented by Giacometti. Nor does the drab palette of cinematographer Danny Cohen help lift the mood. Rush’s hair is good and, as an actor perfectly suited to such a stagey screenplay, he never lacks gravitas, but his accent is all over the place, while Hammer, in a role not dissimilar to Brendan Fraser’s in the beautiful Gods And Monsters (1998), can do nothing more than look like a gullible Yank.

Extremely disappointing.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 

Become a supporter of The Echo

A note from the editorial team

Some of The Echo’s editorial team: journalists Paul Bibby and Aslan Shand, editor Hans Lovejoy, photographer Jeff Dawson and Mandy Nolan

The Echo has never underestimated the intelligence and passion of its readers. In a world of corporate banality and predictability, The Echo has worked hard for more than 30 years to help keep Byron and the north coast unique with quality local journalism and creative ideas. We think this area needs more voices, reasoned analysis and ideas than just those provided by News Corp, lifestyle mags, Facebook groups and corporate newsletters.

The Echo is one hundred per cent locally owned and one hundred per cent independent. As you have probably gathered from what is happening in the media industry, it is not cheap to produce a weekly newspaper and a daily online news service of any quality.

We have always relied entirely on advertising to fund our operations, but often loyal readers who value our local, independent journalism have asked how they could help ensure our survival.

Any support you can provide to The Echo will make an enormous difference. You can make a one-off contribution or a monthly one. With your help, we can continue to support a better informed local community and a healthier democracy for another 30 years.”

Echonetdaily is made possible by the support of all of our advertisers.