The Best Offer

The Best Offer

Director: Giuseppe Tornatore

Rating: 4.5/5

This film could not be more appropriately named – it is literally The Best Offer at Rialto this week, the Rekordelig on a shelf full of Scrumpy. Geoffrey Rush stars as the wealthy, brilliant and just-a-bit-sad auctioneer Virgil Oldman, who becomes entangled in the mystery and intrigue surrounding Claire Ibbeston (Sylvia Hoeks), the reclusive heir to a house full of incredible antiques. As Virgil values the inherited antiques for sale, he gradually discovers pieces of what he believes to be an extremely valuable machine, making him care more about the house, and his client, than is appropriate.

Rush is at the top of his game, and it’s fantastic to see him stretching his legs after the theatrics of the Pirates of the Caribbean series. (Unfortunately, he’s signed on for the fifth instalment. Gotta pay for the indoor swimming pool somehow.) Virgil is a complex combination of lonely, hateful and sweet, with Rush touching on all elements of his character to full effect. Donald Sutherland and Hoeks shine as supporting actors, but I’m afraid Jim Sturgess’ character could have been played by anyone, even if he did look very nice in his little knitted jumpers.

Apart from the truly excellent script, it is the film’s tone that sets it apart as something special. Throughout the whole viewing I felt kind of scared, and I’m not even sure what I was scared of as it certainly isn’t a thriller. The Best Offer transports you to a Gothic, romantic world where anything could happen, and almost everything does.

Unfortunately, director Giuseppe Tornatore seemed to make it a personal challenge to include as much “meaning” as possible, and the film is bursting with metaphors, motifs and clearly emphasised themes – it would make a perfect film study for sixth-form English. Consequently, you may find that you’ve predicted the ending halfway through. That’s okay, though, because the ending is really freaking awesome! The Best Offer makes you feel funny in your belly, which to me is extremely high praise for a film, though less so for a restaurant.
This article first appeared in Issue 26, 2013.
Posted 4:26pm Sunday 6th October 2013 by Rosie Howells.