Saturday, November 23, 2013

The Best Offer - The artificiality of life

In a nutshell this romantic thriller is about an auction house director (Virgil Oldman played by Rush) who becomes obsessed with an heiress (Claire) who is selling a large art and antiques collection, but refuses to be seen. But Virgil is an impatient and callous man, suffering from rhypophobia. His antisocial behaviour and general disregard of others contrasts a story about a man who learns to reconnect with people through the unseen woman.

The film’s interior stylisations reflect the internal psychology of Virgil. The scenes are rich with colour and subject and are filmed with a wide angle lens, setting Virgil as a smaller figure in the middle of large open spaces. This kinda asserts his emotional distance and failure to understand people, women in particular.

As he grows mentally and physically closer to Claire and the wall that hides her, the framing is purposefully tighter to assert their union of agoraphobic tendencies. We are intrigued by what we're not seeing off camera as much as Virgil's actions. This mystery is enhanced by story beats that dissolve into intense peaks of voyeurism.

The manipulation that occurs between characters reflects Virgil’s artificiality of his life. Virgil is often consulted in the authentication of objects he is to auction and one of the key lines in the film is "there is always something authentic concealed in every forgery". Deception becomes the concluding theme, along with physical and mental disorientation. The idea is that as Virgil loses his bearings on time and space we do too so that we experience indistinguishable emotions about the real and fake.

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