Synopsis by Bhob Stewart
European locations (UK, France, Netherlands) highlight this romantic thriller set in the art world. In New York, top forger Harry Donovan (Jason Patric) is hired by British art dealers to fake a $500,000 Rembrandt, despite pressure from his ill father (Rod Steiger) to use his talent on originals rather than fakes. Harry plans to re-create a Rembrandt lost 350 years earlier when it was shipped from Rotterdam to San Sebastian, Spain. Off to research in Paris, Harry meets art student Marieke (Irene Jacob), uses her to acquire necessary scrapings from a real Rembrandt, sleeps with her in a hotel on the Seine, and then heads for an Amsterdam attic where he fabricates the "masterpiece." When he delivers the painting, he finds his clients won't pay until they are sure they've tricked the London experts. On the scene is Marieke, revealed as no student at all but a respected Rembrandt authority. When she rejects the painting as phony, the situation turns tense, guns go off, and Harry retreats -- with Marieke his hostage. At midpoint, this film features a sequence that reveals the specific details involved in forgery, including canvas aging, precise paints, and other deceptions. For a related film, see Orson Welles' "film essay," F for Fake (1973) with a segment on famed forger Elmyr de Hory. Shown at the 1997 London Film Festival.
forgery, painting, art, deception, masterpiece, con/scam, hostage