FILM REVIEW: "One Last Deal" is a Masterful Paint-By-Numbers.
Directed by Finnish director Klaus Härö, One Last Deal follows Olavi, an aging art dealer, who comes across an unattributed painting he believes is by a Russian master artist that is up or sale - and worth an incredible sum. In the process of researching this painting, Olavi reconnects with his estranged daughter and her son. In doing so, he comes to terms with his own retirement, and is forced to reconcile his frayed familial ties. It sounds pretty paint-by-numbers, sure, but its greatness is all in the brushstrokes.
There is a definite painterly quality to the film. The use of naturalistic light is masterful, wintery blues, and autumn hues spill through windows or cracks in doors and the gentle play of soft light and light shadow certainly takes its inspiration from the paintings that surround its central character. The camera often lingers in these frames encouraging its audience to linger on the scene with the same eyes Olaf surveys his own acquisitions.
One Last Deal is painterly in other ways than its aesthetic. In an early scene, Olaf shows his grandson a painting of an old man and a young boy, discussing what the painting has to show them about age and inter-generational ties. A little heavy handed, one might think. Perhaps. Yet this shows us something about how the film views itself. Its characters are portrait: considered, delicate, and requiring careful attention and a hushed tone. Much like a still-life, its subjects may be everyday, but there is a lot of understanding and depth in the detail of their creation. It certainly doesn’t re-write the rule book, but it knows that book well.
4 out of 5 stars
The film is showing through the Perth Lotterywest Film Festival. Definitely worth a watch. My last recommendation? Bring mozzie spray.