Tag Archives: Geoffrey Rush

The Best Offer (La migliore offerta)

Virgil Oldman (played by Geoffrey Rush) is infatuated with beautiful things. He’s made his living working with beautiful things – antique furniture, sculpture, fine arts and furnishings – in his very successful top quality valuation and auction business. He is drawn to the most exquisite and can’t help himself – his obsessive need to add to his collection overtakes all other thoughts and he “must have” the best pieces. He partners with Billy Whistler (by Donald Sutherland) who poses as a buyer at his auctions, to secure the best prices for the most exquisite and sought-after pieces for himself. This works well and his collection is extensive. One day, Virgil is asked to value the estate of a recently deceased and wealthy town resident, Mr Ibbetson, and he begins an interaction with the administrator of the estate, daughter Claire (by Sylvia Hoeks). As he goes through the valuation process he is drawn to this enigmatic woman and discovers feelings for her he’s never had before. He seeks advice from Robert (by Jim Sturgess) a business contact who has great success with women. Virgil, slowly develops the courage to try to get closer to Claire. Things progress well until Virgil is prepared to give up everything for this great love of his life. But can everything really be as perfect as it seems … ?

This thriller, originally called “La migliore offerta” and distributed as “Deception” in some countries, is marvellous. As the knowledgeable but also acutely naive Virgil, Geoffrey Rush is excellent. Through this drama, Virgil experiences a range of emotions and the audience feels them too, through Rush’s marvellous performance. Other performances are strong too – Sylvia Hoeks is well cast as the fascinating and beautiful Claire, there is no doubt she would capture even the most frozen of hearts. As the wily Billy, Donald Sutherland fits the bill perfectly – his look and the twinkle in his eye is just what’s required for this role – you never really know when he’s being honest with you. Then there’s Robert, the young womaniser and genius mechanic – a perfect business associate and friend for Virgil. There are other marvellous characters who contribute to the rich tapestry of this story also – the house custodian, Fred, by Philip Jackson, is straight out of a Quasimodo story – and the girl in the cafe, by Kiruna Stamell, is very well matched here – the kind of character David Lynch would use too. The whole ensemble is great – it’s a compelling, great movie. It won several international awards of recognition, and there’s no wonder about that. Well done, Guisseppe Tornatore, for both the story itself and the movie.

Made in 2013. Directed by Guisseppe Tornatore.

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Posted by on June 13, 2015 in Movies


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The Book Thief

Liesel Meminger (played by Sophie Nélisse) is a casualty of war. In war-torn Germany during World War 2 she is only 14 years old, when she becomes separated from her mother and brother. She is delivered to the home of Hans Hubermann (by Geoffrey Rush) and his wife Rosa (by Emily Watson) as their adopted daughter. Hans is very gentle with Leisel, but Rosa gives very tough love so Leisel learns very quickly how to steel her feelings against despair and disappointment. Having had very little education due to the war, when she attends the village school she struggles, particularly with literacy. A boy in the village, Rudy Steiner (by Nico Liersch) makes friends with her when he sees she is very new. Hans cares tenderly for Leisel and teaches her to read – from this point on, Leisel finds her joy in the world of books and loses herself in the stories. One day she discovers a vast library in the home of the Mayor and his wife Frau Heinrich (by Kirsten Block) and starts to “borrow” the books. A family friend Max (by Ben Schnetzer), arrives to stay at their home, but he is Jewish so this places huge risk on the family as they must keep him hidden from authorities. Thanks to her love of books, Leisel finds ways to live amongst the trauma and horror in this village during the war and beyond ….

This movie is very nice and Leisel is such a marvellous girl – she evokes a joy in anyone watching who also loves books. The performance by Sophie Nelisse is marvellous and for this work she was awarded with Best Actor wins at the Hollywood Film Festival, Phoenix Film Festival and Satellite Awards, no wonder. As Herr and Frau Hermann, the roles played by Geoffrey Rush and particularly Emily Watson are very good too. Emily Watson’s Rosa is such a harridan; she is stoic and stern faced, just marvellous. Geoffrey Rush enmeshes easy but warm tenderness into his gentle character, it’s beautiful to see.  However, for all this, there’s something missing in this movie for me – it could be wonderful, but for me it’s just good. Perhaps it’s that I don’t share the joy of reading that Leisel discovers. It is a dramatization of the novel “The Book Thief” by Markus Zuzak, which is where the narration originates, but to me it’s superfluous – doesn’t add anything either. However, overall it’s quite a good movie.

Made in 2013. Directed by Brian Percival.

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Posted by on March 21, 2014 in Movies


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Frida Kahlo (played by Salma Hayek) was born in 1907 and raised in Mexico. Although her family life is austere, as a child and young woman she leads a very happy and active life, until one day she is involved in a tragic motor accident which leaves her with injuries for life. Through this pain and trauma, she finds her inner strength and works hard to regain her mobility and independence. She takes up painting as a means of expression and develops a love and talent for fine art. She seeks the mentorship of a fellow artist, the well known but womanising Diego Rivera (by Alfred Molina), and a passionate relationship develops between them. The popularity of both artists grows significantly and demand for their work grows all over the world. Through her art, Frida continues to express her strong feelings – her growing love for Diego and the roller coaster of emotions she experiences throughout her life. Both Frida and Diego are very politically active in Mexico and this brings them in contact with Leon Trotsky (played by Geoffrey Rush) and his wife after they flee into exile in Mexico. Frida has a series of passionate relationships as she searches for identity and escape from her difficult life – but she pulls no punches and we watch her, driven by her conviction for truth and justice in her bold life as a political and artistic revolutionary.

Salma Hayek inhabits the intriguing life of Frida Kahlo with seamless ease. She is totally authentic and believable in this role. Frida clearly had a difficult life, but she lived it with conviction and honesty – finding her true passion in her art and her relationships. She yearned to be treated with love and equality and this is a common theme throughout the story. It is very good. Support roles are very well provided by Antonion Banderas and Edward Norton, who are both strong. Alfred Molina is perfect as the unapologetic casanova Diego and the couple have a very realistic chemistry on screen – they balance their love and anger very well. Geoffrey Rush is a nice inclusion as Leon Trotsky. At the Academy Awards presentation in 2003, the movie won several Oscars including Best Makeup and Best Music (Original Score).  Notably also, Salma Hayek was nominated for Best Actress in a Leading Role in recognition of her performance here, and that is truly earned.  In scene construction, Mexico during this time looks like a difficult, but interesting place to live.  Well done. 

Made in 2002.  Directed by Julie Taymor

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Posted by on October 2, 2012 in Movies


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The King’s Speech

“The King’s Speech” tells a true story of the British monarchy – how the newly crowned Bertie, King George VI (played by Colin Firth) battled to overcome a debilitating speech impediment and build self-confidence, particularly in the key royal task of public speaking. He was made King only because the rightful heir, his brother Edward VIII (played by Guy Pearce), decided to opt for life with American divorcee Mrs Wallace Simpson rather than be King. Bertie had tried various cures, all failed, until his wife Elizabeth, later the Queen, (accurately played by Helena Bonham Carter) dragged him to see a down-to-earth Australian elocutionist Lionel Logue (played by Geoffrey Rush).

This wonderful drama is full of real people, well portrayed emotions and great performances. They are all excellent – one point of interest … look for Jennifer Ehle also – she is hard to recognize here in the role of Lionel’s wife. It is a very good movie.

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Posted by on December 1, 2011 in Movies


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The Eye of the Storm

In “The Eye of the Storm” Charlotte Rampling plays the matriarch of a well-to-do and affluent family, with Australian actors Judy Davis and Geoffrey Rush as her daughter and son (respectively) who have a fractured relationship with their mother, but arrive at her deathbed-side to make sure they are visible enough to get their inheritances. The movie is made in Australia and the cast also includes many other great Australian actors. It is a very good drama, with a plot that meanders to various places, with interesting characters and it is beautifully made by Fred Schepsi. It is perhaps a little too long, but a good drama. The screenplay has been adapted from the ninth published novel by Australian novelist and 1973 Nobel Prize-winner, Patrick White.

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Posted by on November 22, 2011 in Movies


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