Final Portrait

1hr 30mins | Rated M | Nudity, offensive language & sexual content.

In Final Portrait, Swiss painter Giacometti regards his talent as a burden. Every canvas is an enemy, every brush stroke has the potential for disaster. He is in constant agony and Geoffrey Rush makes the most of an eccentric personality forever swaying between despair and defiance. His rich performance adds spice to the film but the calm authority of co-star Armie Hammer is no less impressive in what is very close in scope and scale to being a theatrical two-hander.
Written and directed by Stanley Tucci, Final Portrait is based on a memoir by writer James Lord (Hammer). Set in 1964, it follows the gentlemanly Lord as he is invited to sit for a portrait by Giacometti in his studio in Paris. Flattered by the offer, he is told that the sittings will not take long, a few hours at most. But the process becomes a marathon. Flights home are cancelled and plans put on hold as Lord becomes a prisoner of his commitment. Bursts of creativity are followed by the desire to destroy everything and start over. Self-doubt means that nothing is ever to Giacometti’s satisfaction.
Unfolding mostly in the artist’s dusty, cluttered Paris studio, Final Portrait is an enjoyable skirmish between painter and subject as Lord suddenly finds himself at the centre of Giacometti’s world. It is a chaotic existence shared with Giacometti’s long-suffering wife Annette (Sylvie Testud), his brother Diego (Tony Shalhoub) and neurotic mistress/muse Caroline (Clémence Poésy).
Portrait sessions take place at the whim of Giacometti and are vulnerable to interruption as he heads to the nearest bar or strolls through a nearby cemetery. He is a force of nature who cannot be denied. He is also acutely critical of peers and rivals alike with his deepest scorn reserved for Picasso, who is accused of stealing other people’s good ideas.
Elegantly attired and impeccably mannered, Lord is not the type to express his frustration but a heavy sigh or a raised eyebrow allows Armie Hammer to speaks volumes. He is the quiet calm to Giacometti’s raging storm and Rush is also on fine form as a man whose every whim is tolerated because the end so frequently justifies his means. Wreathed in shaggy grey hair, stooped and often looking like an unmade bed, he buzzes with energy and always acts on impulse.
Giacometti never completed another portrait after his sessions with Lord and died just two years later.
Daily Express

 
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