"The Last Vermeer" a solid thriller

Guy Pearce appears in a scene from "The Last Vermeer."

"The Last Vermeer" is a straight forward, meat and potatoes-type movie.

That's not a bad thing.

Anchored by strong work from Guy Pearce, this is a solid historical thriller that gets enough out of the cast and material to satisfy its audience.

"The Last Vermeer" is based off a fascinating post World War II true story of Han Van Meegeren (Pearce), a renowned Dutch artist who is accused of conspiring with the Nazis.

Joseph Pillar (Claes Bang) is the soldier who is asked to investigate these charges. As the evidence against Meegeren starts to mount, Pillar finds himself questioning the charges and siding with the artist - with his investigation shifting from convicting this man to proving his innocence.

"Vermeer" is the directorial debut for Dan Friedkin, who has a good eye for the material and the pacing. This starts out as a well crafted thriller that builds the case for Meegeren that culminates in a tense, but engaging courtroom finale. 

Bang is good as Pillar, who is essentially providing the audience with the facts for and against Meegeren to help them decide as the movie goes on. This is a man conflicted, but also determined to do what is right.

It's also nice to see Vicky Krieps from "The Phantom Thread" in a small role as Pillar's assistant, but "Vermeer" finds its strength in Pearce - who takes an obviously showy role and brings depth and substance to the performance that really brings this artist to life.

This is some of the best work of Pearce's career, giving the audience a reason to become invested in the Dutch artist's plight - and ultimately a reason to become engaged with "The Last Vermeer."

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