My first day in Rome I saw Giuseppe Tornatore’s English-language mystery The Best Offer (La Migliore Offerta) starring Geoffrey Rush and I am proud to say that my 10 € ticket purchase is part of the $3.6 million and one of the 400,000 admissions of its first six days in the theater. More good news: there’s already a deal in the works for US distribution.
Also starring Jim Sturgess, Donald Sutherland and Dutch actress Sylvia Hoeks, it was shot in northern Italy, Vienna and Prague on an $18 million budget with a score is by Ennio Morricone. I think it is Tornatore’s best work to date.
Rush plays Virgil Oldman, a rich, famous, talented, and unscrupulous art auctioneer and collector whose elitism combined with OCD tendencies make for a solitary but apparently satisfying existence. His joy in life is his secret stash of portraits, women’s portraits from every era and genre. He’s acquired them dishonestly with no apparent remorse; his narcissism leaves no room for the sympathy he should be feeling for the people he’s cheated in the world in which he is so respected.
When he’s contacted by an heiress with some art that she’s interested in selling he’s at first annoyed that she’ll only talk to him on the phone, then intrigued, and finally infatuated with the mystery surrounding her. In Oldman’s eyes, she’s the perfect woman; beautiful, contained, and something to acquire. His relationship with her and two other new friends change his world and open it up in ways he never could have imagined.
There’s so much to love about this movie; first off, it is beautiful, particularly with all that art. Morricone’s soundtrack is lovely, Rush’s acting is Oscar-worthy, and the mystery is well crafted.
I’m still debating myself about the soundtrack; with its sweet and moving orchestration I felt misled in a way that made me pretty uncomfortable. I guess that was Tornatore’s intention, but it made me, at times, unsure if I was going to like the movie and I can’t say more or I’ll spoil the ending.
But no matter. La Migliore Offerta is a satisfying 124 minutes at the movies and when it heads our way here in the US I’ll be urging you all to see it.