Film Review – The Burnt Orange Heresy (2019)

An art heist, a dark cynical romance with an infliction of honesty resulting in blackmail are thrown into the mix, then add, Sir Michael Phillip Jagger; you have an intriguing exotic thriller that although talky, simmers into an exuberant, discussion inducing finale.

Based on a popular Charles Willeford novel, the story revolves around art critic, now lecturer James Figueras (Claes Bang) and his mysterious American lover Berenice Hollis (Elizabeth DeBicki) who have been practically summoned to beautiful Lake Como by global art collector Cassidy (played to perfection by strolling bones’ Jagger) then misled by an ulterior motive for the pair to communicate with an extraordinarily reclusive painter, living in a property guest house.

Complicated plot threads continue throughout, this is no straight forward Ocean’s Eleven style robbery.

Greed consumes James, whilst Berenice may or may not have secret motivation travelling the Italian countryside, then there is the third act which overturns what came before it, or does it.

This fragmented, interesting scenario is complimented by glorious cinematic locales.

Performances all round are mostly spot on, in particular Australian tall drink of water Elizabeth Debicki a spin off story on her character alone would make for cracking viewing. Sir Mick not only has devious screen presence, he can act!

Veteran Donald Sutherland is a pleasure to see in predominately loose mode as the demure, self-sufficient legendary painter.

Sadly, lead Claes Bang, is the weak link, instead of what should be electrifying chemistry with Berenice, a wet lettuce leaf has more bounce.

The film moves slow, that’s the point, one should stay alert as deception never far away and irony at the forefront.

★★ 1/2

Drama | Italy, 2019 | 15 | Cinema | 30th October 2020 (UK) | Sony Pictures Releasing UK | Dir.Giuseppe Capotondi | Claes Bang, Elizabeth Debicki, Rosalind Halstead, Donald Sutherland

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