Based very loosely on a true story, director Dan Friedkin’s debut feature had a blank canvas with thrills, spills, courtroom drama, illicit love affairs, spies and wartime resistance at its disposal. Sadly, the resultant mess is stolid storytelling, stilted dialogue and unconvincing performances.
Post-World War II Amsterdam and art dealer Han Van Meegeren (an effete Guy Pearce – Memento, LA Confidential) is charged with collaboration with the Nazis and selling a valuable Vermeer painting to Goerring for enormous personal gain. Captain Joseph Piller (Claes Bang – The Square, The Girl in the Spider’s Web), a former Dutch Resistance member, finds himself investigating the case. Emotions are high in the city where collaborators are publicly executed on the streets. The blood of the overly-privileged Van Meegeren is demanded. But things are not necessarily what they seem.
A mostly wasted, multi-national (but no Dutch!) cast struggle with a bland and stoic telling. It looks good in the decadent and tasteful Van Meegeren chambers, but as the seeming truths unfold, so opportunites with courtroom grandstanding and exploration of ethics are diluted, losing any impact. A damp, oily rag.