Friday, May 9, 2014

The Best Offer DVD Review

From the director of Cinema Paradiso comes a romantic thriller with a playful side that proves love is worth bidding on at any price. When a mysterious heiress asks famed but unscrupulous art appraiser and auctioneer Virgil Oldman (Academy Award winner Geoffrey Rush, The Book Thief, The King's Speech) to evaluate her late parents' collection yet remains forever unseen behind closed doors, it ignites a spark of curiosity in the normally austere Virgil that soon grows into an all-out obsession. Before long everything in Virgil's carefully constructed life threatens to come apart as he delves ever further into the world of intrigue surrounding his enigmatic employer.

Film (4 out of 5 stars)
Virgil Oldman (Rush) is a very particular appraiser and auctioneer.  He is head of his own auction house and is very isolated and alone.  He is a collector of portraits and will do what it takes to get them… even if it means deceiving the owner by telling him or her that the portrait is a fake.  One day, he receives a phone call from a woman, Claire, who would like him to appraise and prepare her collection for auction.  When she fails to show up for various meetings and when each excuse is a little is a little over the top, Virgil is ready to walk away.  When he realizes that Claire is in the house and hiding, he changes his ways and compromises with her.

As he interacts with her through the wall and behind her closed door, everything about him begins to change.  He becomes more open, more caring and more curious about this woman whom he’s never seen.  He confides in the local machine repairman, who counsels him and tells him how to encourage Claire to leave her room.  As Virgil continues the inventory of Claire’s collection, he slowly begins drawing her out. Finally, Claire leaves her room and she and Virgil grow closer.  Virgil begins taking care of her – buying her clothes, shoes, makeup, trying everything he can to reintegrate her to the outside.  

After a setback, Claire disappears and Virgil is beside himself with worry.  After she is found hiding in the attic, Claire and Virgil share a night together.  Claire still hasn’t left the house, but is more comfortable moving around and spending time with Virgil.  One evening, as Virgil arrives at the house, he is attacked on the street and beaten.  Claire, seeing him lying in the street, runs out to him and finds help.  She goes to the hospital with him and as he opens his eyes, he’s happy to see her and see that she has left the house. 

When Virgil is releases, he and Claire begin going out and having dinner with friends.  At dinner, Virgil announces that the inventory is complete and Claire says she has decided not to sell the collection.  As they make plans to move in together, Virgil also announces his retirement.  He leaves for his last auction in London and when he returns home, he finds Claire has disappeared.  He searches for her and realizes that perhaps what they had wasn’t real.

I really enjoyed watching The Best Offer.  I didn’t expect to like it as much as I did.  Geoffrey Rush did a fantastic job as Virgil and Sylvia Hoeks was wonderful as Claire.  Donald Sutherland has a small role as a friend and partner of Virgil’s and, as always, he was very good in his role.  The Best Offer as a title has multiple meanings and each time one of those meanings became present, I found myself thinking of how good the filmmakers did with weaving the meanings together.
Video (4 out of 5 stars)
The 1080p anamorphic widescreen presentation of The Best Offer was pretty close to perfect.  Skin tones were natural and all the colors blended well.  There were a couple issues with waves at the beginning of a couple scenes, but those issues fixed themselves quickly and it didn’t detract too much from the film.  The artwork shown was beautiful and clear and museum photograph quality.
Audio (4 out of 5 stars)
The Best Offer is presented in English Dolby Digital 5.1 with English SDH and Spanish subtitles.  Dialogue was clear and easily heard.  The echoes in some scenes were natural and not overdone or too loud.   Only once did I have a hard time hearing what was being said, but a small adjustment to the volume level rectified that.
Extras (1/2 out of 5 stars)
There are no special features one The Best Offer DVD.  Only the theatrical trailer.  The trailer was well done, using just enough of the more interesting scenes and dialogue to draw the viewer in.
Summary (3 1/2 out of 5 stars)
As the evening has gone on, I find myself still thinking about the film and I like it more and more. It’s definitely a film I will watch again and recommend. It was a good story, with a really good twist at the end. I definitely didn’t see that coming. If you are a fan of Geoffrey Rush, you will enjoy The Best Offer.

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