This week, “The Last Vermeer” and “The Sound of Metal” will open in theaters. But “The Sound of Metal” will also be streaming on Amazon Prime beginning December 4.
THE LAST VERMEER
Captain Joseph Piller (Danish actor Claes Bang) spent World War II fighting in the Dutch Resistance. After the war, he became an investigator search for missing Dutch art treasures.
With the help of his assistant Minna Holberg (Vicky Krieps), he identifies and redistributes stolen art which was taken by the Nazis.
Based on the true story titled “The Man Who Made Vermeers,” by Jonathan Lopez, director Dan Friedkin’s engrossing feature concerns Piller’s investigation of Han van Meegeren (Guy Pearce), a failed painter and bon vivant who spent the war partying with his friends.
If van Meegeren actually sold a painting by 17th century Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer to Herman Göring for an enormous price, the artist could be changed with collaboration, a crime resulting in the death penalty.
Before the Dutch government and dogged Alex de Klerks can locate van Meegeren, Pillar and his henchman Esper Vesser (Roland Moller) hold van Meegeren in an attic where he continues to paint (and share expensive liquor with Vesser).
Eventually, the government arrests van Meegeren and charges him with collaborating with the enemy. But Pillar believes that van Meegeren is innocent and finds an attorney to represent him. While the Dutch prosecutors remain determined to prove his guilt, van Meegeren comes up with a bizarre defense having to do with his skills as a forger.
Australian actor Pearce steals the movie as the effete, ingenious Dutchman who certainly resembles a collaborator. Photos prove that many of his parties were attended by Nazis, and he agreed that he did sell a work of art titled “Christ and the Adulteress” to Göring.
Rated R 3 Stars
THE SOUND OF METAL
Heavy metal drummer and former addict Ruben (Emmy winner Riz Ahmed) and his girlfriend Lou (Olivia Cooke) have a duo called Blackgammon. They live in an Airstream, plan to travel to some upcoming bookings, and Ruben is celebrating four years of remaining sober.
But the drummer’s world falls apart as he realizes that he is losing his hearing. When a doctor tells him about cocklear implants, Ruben holds out hope that he can get enough money for the expensive surgery.
In the meantime, he leaves Lou behind and follows his sponsor’s advice to go meet Joe (Paul Raci), a Vietnam veteran who lost his hearing in the war and now leads a deaf community. Actual members of the deaf community appear in the film.
Writer and co-director Darius Marder and sound designer Nicolas Becker allow the audience to experience Ruben’s deafness through muffled brief sounds, then tiny reverberations and silence (subtitles are included).
Critics have mostly praised “The Sound of Metal,” with special attention paid to the sound design and to Ahmed’s spectacular performance.
To prepare for the role, Ahmed spent six months learning to play drums, and he also learned American Sign Language.
Rated R 3 Stars
Alice Reese is a member of the Dallas Fort Worth Film Critics Association. She reviews movies, arts and entertainment for the Herald-Banner and for KETR.