★★★★½ - STUFF
An aging art dealer is thinking of retiring from the business.
His customers are dwindling, his enthusiasm for the medium is waning and what he sees of the modern world outside his gallery makes him feel like a relic from another age.
His abrasive and disinterested grandson is demanding work-experience in the gallery, to tick some meaningless box on a school letter. He has barely talked with the boy's mother – his only child – in years.
And then, at the back of a neighbouring auction house, he sees a painting. A small, modest, but absolutely exquisite thing that absolutely sings to him. Is it valuable? Can he acquire it for a price he can afford? Do you care?
You should. If you have read this far, then I reckon you will enjoy and respect One Last Deal just as much as I did.
Finnish director Klaus Härö and lead Heikki Nousiainen have collaborated before – on 2009's Letters to Father Jacob. As with that gem of a film, One Last Deal locates some very universal and human truths within the tiniest of stories, then delivers its message via a precisely calibrated script and low-key, utterly believable performances.
The small cast are all excellent in their roles, with perhaps only the duplicitous auction-house owner coming off as just a shade too slimy to completely convince. If he hadn't been played as quite such an obvious villain, even when we first meet him, this would be a pretty much perfect film.
As it is, One Last Deal is one of my favourite dramas of the year so far.
In its own modest way, it is an enthralling and warm-hearted tale of families, loss and the most bitter-sweet of redemptions. Go see it.
-GRAEME TUCKETT, STUFF