An aged artwork seller’s try at a remaining profession coup drives this low-key however efficient drama a few curmudgeon redeemed.
After efficiently collaborating on 2015’s fact-inspired “The Fencer,” Finnish director Klaus Haro and scenarist Anna Heinamaa reteam for an additional low-key wade into feel-good dramatic terrain with “One Final Deal.” This wholly fictive story facilities on an aged Helinski gallery proprietor, whose try to drag off a remaining gross sales coup earlier than retiring, finally ends up enlisting assist from — and mending relations with — his semi-estranged daughter and grandson. Restraint early pays off in emotional rewards later for what’s basically a formulaic curmudgeon-redeemed-despite-himself tearjerker. Among the many extra in style titles this yr amongst Palm Springs’ older-skewing festival-goers, it may capitalize on that attraction in offshore gross sales whereas additionally providing remake potential to abroad admirers.
Olavi (longtime Finnish thesp Heikki Nousiainen, who additionally starred in Haro’s “Letters to Father Jacob”) is a widower who devotes all his time to his enterprise, and doubtless all the time has. However that enterprise is just not doing notably properly: On-line gross sales have severely reduce into storefront enterprises resembling his personal, and he’s thus far behind the instances that he doesn’t even have a pc — all his data are nonetheless on yellowing index-card information.
Fussy and preoccupied, his solely obvious buddy is skilled colleague Patu (Pertti Sveholm), who’s in a lot the identical boat however has a extra genial character. It’s Patu with whom Olavi shares his suspicions that an unsigned portray glimpsed at an area public sale preview is perhaps an ignored work by 19th century Russian grasp Ilya Repin. If that’s the case, its acquisition would comprise precisely the form of triumph he feels he wants to finish his sagging profession on a excessive word.
In the meantime, Olavi is ignoring telephone calls from his middle-aged daughter Lea (Pirjo Lonka), although it appears he really must be the one making an attempt to restore their barely extant relationship. She asks a favor: Her solely baby, teenaged Otto (Amos Brotherus), wants job coaching certification. Couldn’t he assist on the gallery? Olavi isn’t till circumstances drive him to take up the provide so he can analysis the thriller portray. Although they’ve little past blood in frequent, the previous man and his grandson develop a sure rapport, notably as soon as enterprising Otto seems to be the one who confirms the origin of the portray — a portrait not of a Russian monk or peasant, as Olavi initially thought, however an outline of Christ.
Its illustrious painter nonetheless unknown to anybody else, the work nonetheless instructions a surprisingly excessive quantity at public sale, requiring Olavi to go far out on a monetary limb as a way to safe it. That turns into a supply of pressure, difficult additional by his borrowing cash from a problematic supply. Difficulties additionally come up in his dealings with a hostile public sale home worker (Jakob Ohrman) stung by the lack of a a lot greater sale; and a rich potential purchaser (Stefan Sauk). “One Final Deal” drums up suspense over whether or not Olavi’s mechanizations may but finish in defeat — and/or wind up torpedoing his still-tentative reconciliations with Lea and Otto.
Director and scenarist execute their story with sufficient restraint — reflective of the lead character’s stunted emotional vary — to eke out poignancy from what’s at core a considerably predictable narrative arc. The payoff may need been larger had extra perception been provided into how Olavi grew to become estranged from his solely surviving relations. Was he all the time this distant? Had been issues totally different along with his late spouse? The scant dialogue Lea will get about their shared previous suggests he was by no means a lot of a father. The viewers should take it on religion that she’d nonetheless hope for a optimistic interplay with him — or that he’d out of the blue really feel a pang of remorse over his personal conduct. We’re keen to consider these issues not as a result of what’s onscreen makes them palpable, however just because redemption is a part of the components for this sort of story. One may argue there’s extra involvement and urgency within the film’s artwork historical past sleuthing features than there’s in its human drama.
Nonetheless, “One Final Deal” arrives snugly at an emotional vacation spot that was by no means a lot unsure, one each melancholy and reassuring. The craftsmanship that will get us there’s assured throughout, from Heinamaa’s economical writing to the professional method through which Haro couches the largely annoyed interpersonal dynamics in brisk pacing and a subtly heat visible palette. He will get stable work from an professional solid, with Nousiainen wonderful as a person so credibly absorbed in his little world of artwork that one has to in the end forgive his by no means having made sufficient time for something (or anybody) else.