Burnt Orange Heresy – Director, Giuseppe Capotondi

This looked like a fun romp particularly with Donald Sutherland and Mick Jagger as supporting actors. The director wanted to make a Hitchcockian thriller about an art forgery that goes wrong in a very creepy way. The idea was to build the story and tension slowly so that you and to some extent the characters really had no idea where things were headed. The trouble is that the result was incredibly boring up until the final 20-30 minutes. The story opens at a lecture given by the lead actor – Claes Bang — and ultimate villain of the piece. The scene is clever and points to the issues of truth and fiction that the director wants to play with. Enters the female lead Elizabeth Debicki who comes to seduce him but you really have no idea why she is there or why she chooses him or really anything. At any rate for the next hour or so we follow these two around as they plan a trip to interview a famous artist played by Donald Sutherland. It takes literally forever to get there. Boring would be too nice a word. The only thing that makes you think Hitchcock and only when you look back is that the lead occasionally hints that he may not be all he seems. Still boring. The pace picks up at the very end as Jagger and Sutherland enter the script and the screen. Jagger is a rich art collector who is hosting the artist Sutherland on his estate in hopes of acquiring a new masterpiece. Sutherland however is playing his own game and while he pretends to work on new creations is actually doing nothing. When this is revealed to Claes Bang he loses it and decides to burn the studio and steal a blank canvas labelled Brunt Orange Heresy on which he intends to paint a fake creation and sell it as the real thing. The action does pick up all in a rush as there is a murder (of Elizabeth Debicki) as the psychopathic nature of Claes Bang’s character is revealed for what it is. Still it all is very contrived and does not make up for the boredom of the first 2/3rds of the film. I will say that the few scenes with Sutherland and particularly Jagger are fun but maybe not worth the wait.  

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