Dutch Jew who fought with the
Resistance during World War Two in
Holland is assigned to discover
who stole valuable paintings to sell to
the Nazis; but while questioning a
flamboyant and hedonistic Dutch artist
and art dealer accused of collaborating
and facing execution, he begins to
believe the man is innocent and sets
out to defend him in the intriguing true-
life drama, The Last Vermeer...
DURING THE SECOND WORLD WAR Captain Joseph Piller (a sympathetic performance
from Claes Bang: Television's Dracula; The Burnt Orange Heresy), a Dutch
Jew, fought in the Resistance against the Occupation of Holland.
By contrast, flamboyant art dealer, painter and art lover Han van Meegeren (brilliantly
portrayed by Guy Pearce: Television's A Christmas Carol; Mary Queen of Scots;
Memento), whom Joseph has tracked down, seems to have spent the war hosting
lavish, hedonistic gatherings attended by Germans.
is an engrossing,
revealing and well-paced
movie based on the
amazing real-life story of
a flamboyant Dutch art
forger who cheated death
after tricking Hitler’s
film opens in May, 1945, three weeks after the fall of Hitler's Reich, when
the private art collection of Hitler's second-in-command, Hermann Göring, stolen
during Holland's Occupation, is found hidden in a railway car in an Austrian
salt mine. Included in the collection is the painting Christ and the Adultress,
which has been attributed to Johannes Vermeer.
Now the war is over, Joseph is commissioned by the Allied Command to investigate
the theft of stolen priceless art treasures; finding out who stole them and
who sold them to the Nazis. His work puts a further strain on his marriage,
as he and his wife Leez (Marie BachHansen) both have issues stemming from their
individual roles during the war.
Joseph's investigations lead him to the amusing and egotistical Han van Meegeren,
who admits he sold Christ and the Adultress to Göring for a staggering
one and a half million gilders; but he denies collaborating with the Germans
and insists that he did not steal the painting, despite evidence against him.
With the help of his assistant, widowed Minna Holmberg (Luxembourg actress Vicky
Krieps), and former fellow Resistance fighter Esper Dekker (Roland Mřller),
Joseph brings the artist to his base at the Goudstikker Gallery in Amsterdam
to question him before imprisoning him to await trial for war crimes. Collaboration
is a capital offence so, if found guilty, he will be executed.
Joseph is scathing of the Dutch government, which is desperate to take back
complete control. Detective Alex De Klerks (August Diehl) of the Ministry of
Justice attempts to take over the prosecution of van Meegeren, belittling Joseph's
competence as an investigator, but Joseph is determined to see his task through.
Playing a game of words, van Meegeren mysteriously appears to know more about
Joseph than he should. The artist requests that his model, assistant and mistress
Cootje Henning (Olivia Grant) should bring him his paint, brushes and canvas
so he can paint.
Joseph speaks to Dirk Hannema (Adrian Scarborough), an art expert from a museum,
who verifies that Christ and the Adultress is a true Vermeer but he dismisses
van Meegeren as a failure as a painter and not much of an art dealer.
With the Allied Provisional Government shortly to return responsibility to the
Dutch government, will Joseph be able to prove to the court at his trial that
the over-confident, conceited and seemingly undaunted van Meegeren is as innocent
as he now believes him to be or will further evidence prove otherwise?
The Last Vermeer is an engrossing, revealing and well-paced movie based on a
true story. Dan Friedkin's debut as a director also presents an opportunity
for an interesting insight into the art of famed Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer.
The film's images of the aftermath of war include a woman in a makeshift tent
and a poignant image of a little girl standing among the ruins.
The Last Vermeer also features: Karl Johnson as Bernard Bakker; Andrew
Havill as Maarten Wooning; Paul Bentall as Chief Judge; Susannah Doyle as Johana
van Meegeren; Oliver Ryan as Jerome Heidjen; Simon Paisley Day as Rienstra van
Stuyvesant; and Tom Mulheron as Finn.
Music is by Johan Söderqvist; Director of Photography is Remi Adefarasin; Written
by John Orloff (as James McGee), Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby; Based on the book
The Man Who Made Vermeers by Jonathan Lopez; Produced by Sabine Brian
(The Netherlands), Danny Friedkin, Ryan Friedkin and Bradley Thomas; Executive
Producers include Ridley Scott; and Directed by Dan Friedkin.
* Filmed in Portsmouth, England, and Dordrecht
and Schiedam, Netherlands, artwork thriller The Last Vermeer is available
to Download and Keep and to Rent on Digital on 1 March 2021. Certificate: 15
| Running Time: 118 Minutes.
"The Last Vermeer is an engrossing, revealing and well-paced movie based
on the amazing real-life story of a flamboyant Dutch art forger who cheated
death after tricking Hitler’s second-in-command Hermann Göring..." ****
Maggie Woods, MotorBar