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The Power of the Critic: A TIFF Review of ‘The Burnt Orange Heresy’

September 13, 2019Ben MK

Who determines the value of a piece of art? Is it the artist, who has no doubt imbued the work with his or her own personal experiences — or is it the art critic, whose analysis of said work might impart additional meaning on it that was never present in the first place?

In Giuseppe Capotondi's The Burnt Orange Heresy, Claes Bang plays the latter, a man named James Figueras, who's presented with the opportunity of a lifetime. Invited to the villa of eccentric art collector Joseph Cassidy (Mick Jagger), James finds himself offered an interview with reclusive painter Jerome Debney (Donald Sutherland), who hasn't been seen in public since a gallery fire destroyed every last one of his paintings 50 years earlier. The catch? James must walk away from the interview with one of Jerome's current works for Joseph to add to his collection. The question is — how far will James go to fulfill this request?

Bolstered by a mesmerizing turn from Elizabeth Debicki, The Burnt Orange Heresy is a smart and stylish psychological thriller that will instantly appeal to anyone who's ever walked through a museum, looked at a piece of art on the wall, and thought to themselves, "I could do that."

The Burnt Orange Heresy makes its North American premiere at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival. Its runtime is 1 hr. 38 min.

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