2013, Movies

The Best Offer (2013, Giuseppe Tornatore)

There isn’t much to say about this film that won’t give away the ending. It’s about an idiosyncratic but respected art and antiques auctioneer and his obsession with his latest client. And now:


This is a con movie. Specifically, it is a long con movie – it focuses on just one con job, not numerous ones. If you’ve watched a lot of David Mamet films – or really, any con movies – you will see the con coming a mile away. That’s to the movie’s detriment, obviously.

However, the rest of the film is good enough that this doesn’t matter. Rush is fantastic in the lead role and his character believes so strongly in the con that you kind of, sort of do too, even if you suspect (know, really) that everything must unravel shortly. The pacing is deliberate and that makes the con work more effectively than had it been too quick. The fact that it’s only one con – instead of layers of cons, or multiple cons – is also to the film’s credit, as to often we are besieged by cons-within-the-con and shit like that, which is not only tiresome but extremely hard to believe.

So, even if I knew the game way too early, I enjoyed the rest of the film enough to not be upset about that.


  • Directed by Giuseppe Tornatore
  • Produced by Isabella Cocuzza, Arturo Paglia
    Written by Giuseppe Tornatore
  • Starring:
    • Geoffrey Rush as Virgil Oldman, prestigious auctioneer
    • Jim Sturgess as Robert, tinkerer and mechanical repairman
    • Sylvia Hoeks as Claire Ibbetson, reclusive heiress
    • Donald Sutherland as Billy Whistler, artist; friend of Virgil’s who helps him at auctions
    • Philip Jackson as Fred, caretaker of the Ibbetson mansion
    • Katie McGovern as art expert
    • Dermot Crowley as Lambert (Virgil’s main assistant)
    • Liya Kebede as Sarah, Robert’s girlfriend
    • Maximilian Dirr as Virgil’s Assistant
    • Laurence Belgrave as Virgil’s Assistant
    • Sean Buchanan as Virgil’s Assistant
    • Kiruna Stamell as Claire, woman in the bar who keeps count of things
    • Anton Alexander as Real Estate Agent
    • John Benfield as Barman
    • Miles Richardson as Steirereck Maitre
    • James Patrick Conway as Steirereck Manager
    • Brigitte Christensen as First Daughter
  • Music by Ennio Morricone
  • Cinematography: Fabio Zamarion
  • Edited by Massimo Quaglia
  • Production companies: Paco Cinematografica, Warner Bros.
  • Distributed by Warner Bros.
  • Release date: 1 January 2013
  • Running time: 125 minutes
  • Country: Italy
  • Language: English
  • Budget: $18 million
  • Box office: $20,489,700

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