The Goldfinch Review
Dan Skip Allen
The Goldfinch is based on a pulitzer prize winning fiction novel of the same name from Donna Tartt. Thought unfilmable, Amazon and Warner Brother co-produced the film with Amazon putting up the most money and receiving distribution and streaming rights. With such a high profile project comes a bunch of actors wanting to sign up for this film. The Goldfinch definitely has an all star cast to brag about. With all the publicity behind this film it has a lot of pressure to live up too.
Oaks Fegley portrays young Theodore Decker and Ansel Elgort portrays a slightly older version of young Theo. The film bounces back and forth between these two versions of the character. Young Theo has witnessed a terrorist attack on The Metropolitan Museum of Art of which his mother was a victim of. While there, for some inexplicable reason he decides to steal a painting lying amongst rubble of the museum. Bodies strewn everywhere, Theo makes his way out of the museum. With his mother dead he tells the authorities he wants to live with the Barbour family. Andy Barbour is his friend from school. Ms Barbour portrayed by Nicole Kidman welcomes him in as if he were her own son.
The Goldfinch has a lot of twists and turns and one of those is that Theo’s father portrayed by Luke Wilson and his girlfriend Xandra portrayed by Sarah Paulson come from Las Vegas to pick up Theo and bring him home with them. While is Las Vegas Theo meets a young man who he befriends, called Boris (Finn Wolfhard). These two find each other at the perfect time in their lives. The adult Theo is now an antiques salesman. He has a partner is named Hobie (Jeffery Wright), who owns the antiques shop and teaches Theo the business. He’s successful and confident as a young adult and somewhat of a ladies man. A young girl he liked when he was a kid named Pippa portrayed by Aimee Laurence & Ashliegh Cummings resurfaces, and they get along quite well.
John Crowley is most famous for directing the 2015 film Brooklyn starring Saoirse Ronan. That film was a straightforward period piece love story. The Goldfinch is a non-linear mystery about the man who steals a painting. They are completely different films. The Goldfinch has a lot of great performances. He seems to get that out of his actors. Getting Roger Deakins to do the cinematography was a coup though. This film looks gorgeous. Scenes of the young Theo & Boris walking in the desert and scenes of adult Theo walking on the streets of New York were brilliantly shot. This adds to the mystery of this film and story. The score by David Cambell added to the overall feel of the film. The editing was a character in the film as well.
I enjoy a non linear film. I also enjoy a good mystery. The Goldfinch has a lot of parts that come together to make an entertaining film. Great performances by the entire cast, most notably from Wright, Fegley and Elgort, got me invested in this film from the very beginning. The moody vibe felt right in this film, circling around tragedy and despair. And greats like Deakins helped in the long run to make this film an enjoyable cinematic experience.
3 ½ stars
Dan Skip Allen