- The Burnt Orange Heresy
- Directed by Giuseppe Capotondi
- Written by Scott B. Smith, based on the novel by Charles Willeford
- Starring Claes Bang, Elizabeth Debicki and Donald Sutherland
- Classification R; 99 minutes
If you like seaside villas, excessively sexy people doing dastardly deeds and the jangly theatrics of a non-singing, non-dancing Mick Jagger, then The Burnt Orange Heresy is the late-summer film for you. Making its way to theatres – real-deal theatres, not the boring ol’ video-on-demand we’ve become accustomed to – after playing to polite applause during last year’s fall-festival circuit, Giuseppe Capotondi’s stylish thriller is no-brain-necessary entertainment, even though it frequently pretends to be operating as a philosophical exercise focused on art and ethics.
Really, it’s just a glossy morality tale about a too-slick-by-half critic (Claes Bang) hired to pull a fast one on a reclusive painter (Donald Sutherland) who is hiding out on the estate of a dubious millionaire (that’d be Jagger). Roped into the proceedings is a mysterious American woman (Elizabeth Debicki), whose arc proves to be the main source of the film’s narrative frustrations.
The international cast manage to acquit themselves fine enough, with Jagger in particular having a ball as an energetic rapscallion. But Capotondi’s delusion that he is making something more than a dirty little thriller ultimately proves to be the film’s undoing. Without spoiling much, let’s just say that the film takes after the prized paintings its main antihero is so consumed by: beautiful but empty.
The Burnt Orange Heresy opens Aug. 7 in Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa and Vancouver
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