The Best Offer

Words by Murray Bevan

I’ve always had the best cinematic experiences with movies that I know little about, and last night’s screening of ‘The Best Offer’ starring Geoffrey Rush was no exception.

My night started with a quick departure from work in time to make it to The Bridgeway in Northcote Point by 6pm for the movie. I was planning the rare ‘double header’ at the NZFF and had to make it back to The Civic by 8.30pm for my next flick, but more on that later.

The Best Offer is a kind of romance movie, with a bit of comedy and a bit of drama, but I couldn’t peg it either way. Geoffrey Rush stars as Virgil Oldman, head auctioneer at Oldman’s Auction House and lover (and world-renowned expert) of all fine art and objects.

Oldman lives in a lonely bubble, surrounded by his work and those who respect him out of fear and awe for his ability and standing. He’s never been with a woman, but is rather married to his job. A quick string of scenes at the beginning of the movie show Oldman choosing his suit from a cavernous walk-in wardrobe, selecting leather gloves from a collection of hundreds, having his thinning hair dyed, and being seated at a fine restaurant where the waiters bring him his own customised glassware from his own fridge in the kitchen, complete with sand-blasted ‘VO’ initials.

Oldman’s life changes for the better when he’s called by a woman who insists that he must come and value her family’s estate, now that her parents have passed away. She’s hard to pin down, and starts to frustrate him, and here begins the cat-and-mouse romance. Her house is full of incredible objects and artifacts, and Oldman is quickly enamoured with them and their value. His relationship with the woman ebbs and flows until he becomes obsessed with having never met her (she only calls him on the phone, and is never seen in the house). He eventually finds her, living in a room between the walls of the old rambling villa, and hence their romance begins.

There are many twists and turns as the movie moves along, ultimately ending in a moment which defines Oldman and his life to this point. It’s acted beautifully, with a number of interesting characters and side plots.

Highly recommended. 7-10 Department Store Stars.

Reviewed by Murray Bevan – PR Manager and Geoffrey Rush fanboy.

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