Stanley Tucci’s film is set in Paris in 1964 , where during an encounter, the renowned Swiss painter Alberto Giacometti requests the American art critic and connoisseur James Lord to pose for a portrait. Quite taken aback and honoured by the artist’s design, Lord readily agrees, only to discover that the artist’s final portrait might take much longer to emerge on the canvas than he had originally expected it to.
Its indeed strange how a film with as little an onward impetus as the ‘Final Portrait’ keeps us hooked for its entire running time of ninety minutes. Perhaps the film would not qualify as an exhaustive biopic on the artist, especially since it zooms in on just about a couple of weeks towards the end of a highly illustrious career. And yet Tucci’s portrait of Giacometti is one that gets its strokes and symmetry precisely right, and despite all the recurrences that lie along the almost three week long framework, does not for a moment strike you as verbose.
Rush is in supreme form in the ‘Final Portrait’ and through a subtly hilarious act, lays out in precise shades, the perpetual apprehension that hangs over his artistic abilities. The artist and the man materialize before us at once, and this idiosyncratic soul who is never sure of himself or the ones around him, gets busy wielding his brushes one after the other, but to little avail.
Strange as it may sound, this is the first time that I have watched Armie Hammer in action, and whose performance in the film made me look up his former works, some of which at least I intend to catch up with soon. Hammer is remarkably good in the film, in a role that requires him to do a balancing act between extreme restraint and caution on the one side and an ever increasing irritability and restlessness on the other.