BIFF 2017: Final Portrait

Armie Hammer and Geoffrey Rush in Final Portrait

Dave author picWhen it comes to directing, Stanley Tucci is one hell of an actor. At least, that’s the case if his latest feature – Final Portrait – is anything to go by. Tucci’s directed another five films, but I can’t say I’m anxious to hunt them down after seeing this.

Final Portrait was probably a lost cause from the get-go. The premise is hopelessly thin – Swiss painter/sculptor Alberto Giacometti (Geoffrey Rush) takes a frustratingly long time to paint a portrait of journalist James Lord (Armie Hammer) – and Tucci offers little to elevate the material. The desaturated palette is presumably intended to reflect Giacometti’s artworks, but just looks dull. Meanwhile the plonky score strikes me as the kind of thing played over polite ‘comedies’ aimed at the blue-rinse crowd.

Worst of all, the film is boring, ambling along with no urgency, no sense of purpose. You feel every one of its 90 minutes. The film’s saving grace is its actors; Rush has a curmudgeonly chemistry with Hammer, but neither’s given sufficiently robust characters to warrant spending this much time with them. The artistic process might be torturous and long and repetitive, but that’s not an insight that warrants a feature film on the subject.

1.5 stars

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