Based on the book The Man Who Made Vermeers we follow a Dutch folk hero Han van Meegeren (Guy Pearce) who sold forgeries of Johannes Vermeer paintings to the Nazis. He is considered the most successful art forger of all time.
Beyond the main theme which ends in a spectacular Perry Mason style court case, director Dan Friedkin brings out the emotional forces from World War II that carry beyond the time of the war.
What one does to survive or defeat the German occupation may not be acceptable under normal circumstances but deserves forgiveness in comparison to the terror of the power from Berlin. Within that we see opulent sensual parties with German soldiers and locals Dutch citizens. The trial near the end questions Han van Meergren (Guy Pearce) but weaved throughout the script is evidence of guilt on the part of all of the players.
Following Captain Joseph Piller (Claes Bang) who is in the process after the war of weeding out Nazis or their supporters during the war, we learn there is a price to pay for revenge even when it appears justified. It’s the same emotion that is played out during the film Munich as the Israel secret forces take out all those who hit the Olympic Village.
Pearce is the focus of the story as Meergren and he commands the center of attention as his character was known for. He is smooth comical and confident even when like others he has something to hide.
Roland Moller is Esper Vesser who is the heavy under Captain Piller’s command and he stops anyone challenging Piller he is the loyal side-kick and effective in his work.
Susannah Doyle is the red head secretary, girl Friday and sometime sensual model for Meegere she plays each role effectively. On the other hand Vicky Krieps is Minna Holberg the loyal secretary to Captain Piller who hopes for more but is destined to loose out.
Framed with an effective musical score we find that all sins are forgiven by the inspector. He appears to move to forgive even when activities which are not proper are discovered but are on the side of the Dutch not the Nazis.