Tim's Vermeer Movie Review

When Penn & Teller turn their hand to documentary filmmaking, we know it's going to be something playful. Indeed, this is a hugely entertaining film, gripping us with a fascinating story that has a lot to say about the interplay between art and technology. It's also a witty exploration of one of history's most iconic painters.

Tim Jenison is a successful inventor in Austin, Texas. A nerd with too much money and time on his hands, he becomes fascinated with the 17th century Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer, whose paintings have an uncanny photographic quality to them. Experts like David Hockney have long wondered how Vermeer achieved this realism, suggesting that optic lenses were probably involved. So Tim sets out to find the secret, developing a lens and a set of mirrors to recreate one of Vermeer's most complex paintings, The Music Lesson. And even though he has no artistic skill, his result may change art history forever.

It also forces us to reconsider how we define artistry, because clearly technology is another tool an artist uses. Penn & Teller hold our interest by peeling away the layers and letting us see Vermeer's magic (they also hint that the film itself might be a trick). The fact is that Vermeer created photorealistic images 150 years before the advent of photography, and no one has previously been able to explain how he did it. But whatever process he used also proves his artistic skills, simply because it involves so much creative thinking.

And this is the journey we watch Tim go through. He's a terrific screen character, a likeable guy whose curiosity drives him to visit Vermeer's hometown and learn glazing so he can grind his own lens. He even tries to get into Buckingham Palace, where the original painting hangs. Penn & Teller find hilarious asides all the way along, tracing Tim's 11-year project to crack Vermeer's secret, and specifically the 130 days recreating The Music Lesson. This is essential viewing for anyone who wonders about the line between technical objectivity and artistic subjectivity. Tim claims to have no artistic talent at all, but his passion proves otherwise.

Watch 'Tim's Vermeer' Trailer

Cast & Crew

Director :

Producer : , Farley Ziegler

Starring : Tim Jenison, , , Philip Steadman, , Colin Blakemore, Natalie Jenison, Claire Jenison

Comments

Tim's Vermeer Rating

" Excellent "

Rating: 15, 2013

Advertisement

Editors Recommendations

Dark Drama 'The Riot Club' Is Never Dull, But Lacks Bite

The Riot Club, formerly known as 'Posh' and based on Laura Wade's 2010 play...

Dark Drama 'The Riot Club' Is Never Dull, But Lacks Bite

Aphex Twin - Syro Album Review

If you're even remotely into electronic music, then you are more than likely to know who Aphex Twin is. After becoming...

Aphex Twin - Syro Album Review

Game of Thrones' Maisie Williams Set for Channel 4 'Cyber Bullying' Drama

Maisie Williams, best known for playing Arya Stark in HBO's Game of Thrones...

Game of Thrones' Maisie Williams Set for Channel 4 'Cyber Bullying' Drama

Reaper - Trailer

The Reaper (Mike Michaels) was formerly an ordained minister before embarking on a rampant killing spree with...

Reaper Trailer

Adam Duritz Of Counting Crows Talks Of Liberation, Fun And Childhood Fascinations

Counting Crows have delighted us with their first album release since...

Adam Duritz Of Counting Crows Talks Of Liberation, Fun And Childhood Fascinations

Ringo Deathstarr - Live Review

The Sabotage Club in Lisboa has all the trappings of the typical toilet circuit venue, if you were to disregard a decade...

Ringo Deathstarr supported by The Telescopes, NAAM,  11th September 2014, Lisboa Sabotage Club Live Review

'X-Men: Deadpool' Set For 2016, Ryan Reynolds Likely to Star

X-Men: Deadpool, a project that has long been in development for Twentieth...

'X-Men: Deadpool' Set For 2016, Ryan Reynolds Likely to Star

Ben Whishaw Lands Starring Role in BBC Thriller 'London Spy'

Ben Whishaw, the British actor who played Q in Skyfall and who portray the...

Ben Whishaw Lands Starring Role in BBC Thriller 'London Spy'

Dolly Parton - Blue Smoke: The Best of Dolly Parton Album Review

Dolly Parton is an international treasure - and a rare breed, at that. She is a...

Dolly Parton - Blue Smoke: The Best of Dolly Parton Album Review
Advertisement