American art expert Patrick Donovan (Scot Williams) is offered a deadly choice and runs the risk of being framed after a famous masterpiece goes missing in Venice.American art expert Patrick Donovan (Scot Williams) is offered a deadly choice and runs the risk of being framed after a famous masterpiece goes missing in Venice.American art expert Patrick Donovan (Scot Williams) is offered a deadly choice and runs the risk of being framed after a famous masterpiece goes missing in Venice.
TEMPESTA was intriguing in its premise, but falls absolutely flat in terms of execution. The film does show you something of a new world -- that of the profession of art authenticator. The authentication sequences are absorbing in terms of showing how possibly state-of-the-art technology and the authenticator's know-how are used to determine whether a painting is genuine or not. You do learn things like cobalt being a pigment that was first used in the 19th century and so couldn't be used in paintings from the turn of the 15th to the 16th century, but it feels like either there should be some more exposition of this kind or that it would be better off in a documentary about art authentication.
The film's one redeeming quality is its fairly intricate cinematography, which is well-lit, has some elaborate multiple dissolves and picture-postcard views of Venice. It really made me want to go to Venice. The carnival sequence even has a slight raciness about it that makes one a bit pumped to go for the promise of some Italian hot tuna. I'm a bit surprised they didn't try to premiere this at the Venice Film Festival.
I went to go see the film on the strength of the male supporting cast; namely, Rutger Hauer, Malcolm McDowell and Tcheky Karyo. Now the former two actors tend to do a lot of straight-to-video schlock, but in the right project, they could be dynamite. This is not that kind of project, and while McDowell livens the proceedings up with his haughty, snooty turn as an art historian with some secrets, Hauer just walks nonchalantly through his role as Van Beunigen, the director of the Galleria dell'Accademia. However, to be fair to Hauer, he isn't given much to do. Paul Guilfoyle's stint as the mafiosi Rossi has a bit of spark and kind of reminds me a little of William Hurt in A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE. The other performances (including the young leads) are pretty wooden and misdirected for the most part.
The whole story of skulduggery in the Venice art world is pretty anemic. Despite the seemingly dynamic thefts and bravura stiletto-in-the-eye killings, it strangely lacks dramatic thrust and is never in the least bit convincing. The love interest situation is pat and even slightly comical rather than involving or in the least bit erotic. In general, the proceedings have a sort of phoned-in quality similar to the lead character's conversation with the insurance company that hired him back in New York.
The initial cast listing on IMDb.com was perplexing as it listed McDowell and Karyo as playing a character named Valenzin. One thing's for sure: there is only one Valenzin character in the film and Karyo is definitely NOT playing him, which leads me to believe that he was supposed to be cast, but was replaced by McDowell. Oh, well, so much the better for Karyo in a way. At least he doesn't have another sub-par movie in his resume.
- Jun 29, 2006