Projections - Movie Reviews
With Jim Sabatini

Tim's Vermeer


Rated: PG-13 for some strong language.
Reviewed by: Jim  
Release date: March 7, 2014 Released by: Sony Pictures Classics

A surprisingly translucent documentary from an Austin, TX (self-made millionaire) inventor shows how far obsession and effort as well as subjectivity and objectivity into perception can go.

Tim Jenison's Tim's Vermeer does more than intriguingly probe into esteemed Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer remembered by many in his field for his detail and amazing, inexplicable use of light.

This goofy genius who never painted or had any experience in it goes to lengths that many wouldn't really care about when it comes to learning of a possible technique Vermeer may have employed to dazzling, photorealistic effect over 300 years ago.

Jenison is NewTek computer graphics founder who avers that he has no natural artistic ability believes Vermeer used mirrors (its edges to paint) to precisely reproduce an image. Seeing is believing for those dubious; this spry cinema verite written by illusion twosome debunker, narrator and director/mute Penn Jillette (Jenison's longtime chum) and Teller, respectively, builds off the notion of creation with more than a sleight of hand and some bluffing to boot in a manner of showmanship.

A duplication of a photograph is something to behold that more than catches the eye of David Hockney and Martin Mull, to name a couple who have suggestions that feed into the ambitions of Jenison. Some ebullient stuff involving the likes of Buckingham Palace (where the original Vermeer painting sits) will enter the fray as the learning of a technique starts to have some wonder attached to them. It includes a recreation (to prove his theory) of not only Vermeer's The Music Lesson but from his own materials recreating the artist's home studio with the painting's exactness from antiquities to furniture.

In its illuminating forensic stylings, Tim's Vermeer in its inquisitive spirit and discernment makes all the hullabaloo to mirror an expertise a rather remarkable cinematic magic act.

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