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La Migliore Offerta (The Best Offer) by Giuseppe Tornatore

September 20, 2013


Every time I watch a film by Tornatore my mind goes to the late great Franco Cristaldi – the legendary Italian producer whose cuts made an Oscar winner of Cinema Paradiso and an international star of Giuseppe Tornatore – La Migliore Offerta would certainly have benefited from Cristaldi’s vision: the beautifully shot material and the developed themes – though the film borders many genres and ideas I’d say it’s mainly about the safety of objects theory and its unintended consequences – wouldn’t have been transformed into a masterpiece, but with a few cuts and a better editing The Best Offer could be a decent movie. Virgil Oldman (Geoffrey Rush) is a world famous auctioneer, a trusted expert and evaluator of antiques as well as a swindler who has amassed a huge collection of portraits in a secret vault, he is 63 and until now he has never had an intimate relationship, but Oldman’s armor is bound to weaken when a mysterious and claustrophobic heiress starts intruding first into his work and then into his life.


The screenplay – by Tornatore himself – lacks coherence and while the artificiality of the whole story can be considered intentional the character of the heiress is quite weak, especially when you consider that the seduction of the auctioneer is performed for about an hour into the film only by Claire’s voice, but Sylvia Hoeks tone and accent aren’t seducing at all and even if we accept that this is the meeting of two troubled minds so excluding the usual ways that create a relationship, the fake of it all could have been saved only by an open admission by Tornatore of the playfulness of the story, the attempts to disguise the movie or heighten its tension are pathetic when twenty minutes into the movie even a toddler understands that Virgil Oldman is the victim here, there is no real thrill nor ambiguity, therefore only an ironic approach could made sense, La Migliore Offerta could still have been a good film if THE END had come at minute 106 (I use minutes to stay as far as possible from spoilers) alas Tornatore confirms that his great cinematic eye is not matched by an adequate ability as a storyteller.

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