THE BURNT ORANGE HERESY – Review by Susan Granger
Are you familiar with Redbox? Located at many gas stations and grocery stores, it’s a movie vending machine that rents DVDs for $1 and you can return your rental at any Redbox kiosk.
That’s where this new art-fraud thriller appeared. Scheduled for release in March after its premiere at the 2019 Venice Film Festival, it got sidetracked to Redbox and VOD. And, surprisingly, it turns out to be a sexy, sophisticated film noir.
In Milan, as charismatic James Figueras (Danish actor Claes Bang) is lecturing about art and authenticity to tourists, an enigmatic American, beguiling Berenice Hollis (Elizabeth Debicki), suddenly appears in his audience. Sparks ignite. There’s instant chemistry.
She’s soon accompanying him to Lake Como, where a devilish, ultra-rich art collector, Joseph Cassidy (Mick Jagger), commissions him to steal a painting from the elderly, reclusive artist Jerome Debney (Donald Sutherland), who occupies a small, securely locked studio on Cassidy’s estate.
According to legend, years earlier, all of Debney’s art works burned in a mysterious fire, so owning one of his paintings would be a precious prize – as who does what to whom unfolds.
Based on Charles Willeford’s 1971 novel, it’s adapted by Scott B. Smith and directed by Giuseppe Capotondi, who changed the location from Florida’s Everglades to Lake Como, Italy, because it’s situated between mountains so the lack of sunshine gives a shady, melancholic, even dreamy look.
Villa Pizzo doubles as Cassidy’s home; this picturesque lakeside mansion was where John Legend and Chrissy Teigan were married in 2013. Debney’s art work was modeled from and inspired by Claudio Verna’s analytic paintings
It’s Mick Jagger’s first big screen appearance since The Man from Elysian Fields (2001) and – for those who are curious – neither Claes Bang nor Elizabeth Debicki used stunt doubles for the nude scenes.
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “The Burnt Orange Heresy” is an intriguing 8, a compelling caper.