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||IMDB Rating: 4.6/10 from R votes
||Release: 10 May 2004 /
||Genre: Drama, Thriller
||Director: Tim Disney,
||Stars: Drama, Thriller
||Synopsis: An American art appraiser, Patrick Donovan, is sent to Venice to evaluate three paintings belonging to the famous Galleria dell'Accademia. The company that insures the paintings has hired ...
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I saw this film at its Moscow Film Festival screening last night at the
newfangled Oktyabr multiplex. Mercifully, they showed it in English
with Russian subtitles on a readout below the screen. Thankfully there
was no stupid voice-over or dubbing translation, which is what you
normally get in Russian cinemas.
TEMPESTA was intriguing in its premise, but falls absolutely flat in
terms of execution. The film does show you something of a new world --
that of the profession of art authenticator. The authentication
sequences are absorbing in terms of showing how possibly
state-of-the-art technology and the authenticator's know-how are used
to determine whether a painting is genuine or not. You do learn things
like cobalt being a pigment that was first used in the 19th century and
so couldn't be used in paintings from the turn of the 15th to the 16th
century, but it feels like either there should be some more exposition
of this kind or that it would be better off in a documentary about art
The film's one redeeming quality is its fairly intricate
cinematography, which is well-lit, has some elaborate multiple
dissolves and picture-postcard views of Venice. It really made me want
to go to Venice. The carnival sequence even has a slight raciness about
it that makes one a bit pumped to go for the promise of some Italian
hot tuna. I'm a bit surprised they didn't try to premiere this at the
Venice Film Festival.
I went to go see the film on the strength of the male supporting cast;
namely, Rutger Hauer, Malcolm McDowell and Tcheky Karyo. Now the former
two actors tend to do a lot of straight-to-video schlock, but in the
right project, they could be dynamite. This is not that kind of
project, and while McDowell livens the proceedings up with his haughty,
snooty turn as an art historian with some secrets, Hauer just walks
nonchalantly through his role as Van Beunigen, the director of the
Galleria dell'Accademia. However, to be fair to Hauer, he isn't given
much to do. Paul Guilfoyle's stint as the mafiosi Rossi has a bit of
spark and kind of reminds me a little of William Hurt in A HISTORY OF
VIOLENCE. The other performances (including the young leads) are pretty
wooden and misdirected for the most part.
The whole story of skulduggery in the Venice art world is pretty
anemic. Despite the seemingly dynamic thefts and bravura
stiletto-in-the-eye killings, it strangely lacks dramatic thrust and is
never in the least bit convincing. The love interest situation is pat
and even slightly comical rather than involving or in the least bit
erotic. In general, the proceedings have a sort of phoned-in quality
similar to the lead character's conversation with the insurance company
that hired him back in New York.
The initial cast listing on IMDb.com was perplexing as it listed
McDowell and Karyo as playing a character named Valenzin. One thing's
for sure: there is only one Valenzin character in the film and Karyo is
definitely NOT playing him, which leads me to believe that he was
supposed to be cast, but was replaced by McDowell. Oh, well, so much
the better for Karyo in a way. At least he doesn't have another sub-par
movie in his resume.
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