Was La Migliore Offerta truly the best offer?
The story revolves around an art auctioneer, as rich as he is esteemed by his colleagues, and his growing interest, soon an obsession, in a mysterious heiress. As we find out, the man, wonderfully portrayed by Geoffrey Rush, lacks both patience and honesty, and has been secretly using a friend of his (Donald Sutherland) to buy paintings of interest during his own auctions for decades.
Fascinated by the pieces of an automaton inexplicably appearing in the basement of the said heiress, who asks -or rather, begs- him to appraise her goods, Virgil Oldman (Rush) starts coming to the house more and more often, and collects the part for a young technical prodigy (Jim Sturgess) to assemble it.
The mysterious 27-year-old girl, Claire, very subtly interpreted by Dutch actress Sylvia Hoeks, who never seemed to be at home, turns out to always have been there, and admits to the auctioneer her agoraphobia. As stern Virgil starts caring and worrying for Claire, he earns sympathy from the audience. An unlikely romance subsequently issues between the fragile girl and the sixty-something Oldman. A number of inanimate characters have a life of their own, finally, like the numerous paintings of women, the grand statue in Claire’s living room and more than everything else, the automaton itself.
As everything seems saved and a happy ending secured, everything is lost… and revealed. The most challenging part being the very last sequence, in the bar/restaurant, where the viewer must wonder whether this happens before, after, or is merely a fragment of the protagonist’s imagination.
So was La Migliore Offerta truly the best offer? Yes. A masterpiece from several levels, from the brilliant soundtrack by legendary composer Ennio Morricone, to the stellar acting on Rush, Hoeks and Sturgess’ part, through the magnificent images of Fabio Zamarion and the superb storytelling and directing of Tornatore.
For non-Italian speakers, worry not: even though the director and the title are Italian, the film, which takes place somewhere in Europe, is in English.
Watch the trailer on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WCfXq3nFDUM
Find La Migliore Offerta (in English, The Best Offer) on IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1924396/