The Last Vermeer

The Last Vermeer

In Theatres: 
Nov 20, 2020
Running Time: 
117 minutes

There is no doubt that art is subjective, but who ultimately decides its worth? The Last Vermeer is an art story, wrapped around a World War II story, and is based on the true story of Han van Meergren, a talented art forger who swindled millions out of Nazi’s with his convincing fakes. It’s a fascinating story led by a captivating performance from Guy Pierce, and it will leave you clinging to every word of his tale, regardless of the truth to it.


World War II has ended, and Captain Joseph Piller (Claes Bang) has been tasked with investigating those who have aided the Nazi’s in any way and bring them to justice. After discovering a lost painting from the highly prized Vermeer in the collection of a Nazi general, Captain Piller learns that a Han van Meergren (Guy Pierce) is the one who sold the painting and brings him in for questioning to learn how he himself came into possession of something so valuable. But as more and more details come to light on the source of the painting, Piller and everyone else begin to question van Meegren’s motives and whose side he’s really on.


The Last Vermeer unfolds like a good mystery novel. On the surface, it looks like a pretty cut and dry story about a Nazi sympathizer who is doing his best to game the police. From the moment he is arrested, Han van Meergren always appears like he’s in control, slowly convincing those around him to give him what he wants. First it’s his paints, but pretty soon he’s “locked away” with his whiskey and his women as well. He’s gifted with a silver tongue as much as a steady painting hand, learning about the wants and needs of his captors and convincing them to let their guard down. It’s all fascinating to watch unfold.


And yet the film takes a turn in the third act when people realize that van Meergren is a forger who has been exploiting the Nazi’s for his own personal gain. All of a sudden you have a change of heart for Captain Piller and his confidants, who now are working with van Meergren and not against him. But you also can’t help but wonder if it’s all a part of his plan as well. Like van Meergren, the film does a great job at never fully revealing the truth and only showing just enough to keep you latched on and wanting more, continuing to offer tease after tease that entices you to come back.


The Last Vermeer is like watching a work of art being painted. It’s impossible to see the bigger picture initially, but each brushstroke reveals just a bit more and adds to its beauty. In the end it doesn’t really matter how genuine the final product is, or in this case how true to the real van Meergren the film is, because it’s the process that is at the heart of the story, and ultimately The Last Vermeer delivers a story that’s worth watching.

Matt Rodriguez
Review by Matt Rodriguez
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