Claes Bang was plucked from relative obscurity (for English-speaking audiences) by Steven Moffatt. This was for him to star in Moffatt’s reimagining of Bram Stoker’s classic Dracula. It was a star-making role for him. But sadly the show didn’t quite live up to expectations. As a result, Bang hasn’t shot up in fame like his fellow Nordic brethren. This starring role sadly isn’t quite his big break but it could take him places in the future.
The Burnt Orange Heresy is a drama that follows Claes Bang as an art critic who does regular lecturers advertising his book on art criticism. At one of his lectures, Elizabeth Debicki introduces herself to him and they instantly become intimate. The couple then go to meet an eccentric art collecting millionaire played by Mick Jagger. Jagger gives Bang the opportunity to interview Donald Sutherland. A renowned but reclusive artist. Though this comes with the condition that he must steal a piece of his art for Jagger’s collection.
The story for The Burnt Orange Heresy becomes a thriller, eventually. Before you get to that point you do have to sit through quite a lot of rather pretentious conversations about art. These can be quite profound in places but most of it will probably be lost on anyone who doesn’t have a degree in Art Studies. The other side of the dialogue is quite cheesy, especially regarding conversations between Bang and Debicki.
When the film starts to pick up the pace it does get a little more exciting and interesting. However, there are some incredibly perplexing decisions characters make. To say what these decisions are would spoil the best parts of the film but you will know them when you see them.
Ironically, the best acting in The Burnt Orange Heresy comes from Mick Jagger. Though to be fair, it’s a stretch to call it acting, he’s literally just playing himself. But that’s what makes him so entertaining. He’s only in about 3 scenes but he swaggers through them like one of his concerts in the 1960s.
Everyone else is playing a role you will have seen them do before very recently. Claes Bang is essentially playing Dracula again. Debicki plays a mysterious but vulnerable woman with a poor taste in men – see Tenet and The Night Manager. And Donald Sutherland plays an old man that’s very wise but also charming who raises his eyebrows and turns his head a lot – see basically anything he’s done in the last 20 years.
The film is quite pretty, appropriate for a film about art. Sadly though this could very well be more to do with the locations than anything to do with the cinematography.
The Burnt Orange Heresy is by no means a bad film. There’s a good story, the characters are reasonably interesting and, if you’re that way inclined, there’s A LOT of nudity (of both genders). Sadly though the film suffers from a pretentious script and quite boring directing so it’s not something you should think about paying to see.
Dir: Giuseppe Capotondi
Scr: Scott B. Smith
Cast: Claes Bang, Elizabeth Debicki, Mick Jagger, Donald Sutherland
Prd: William Horberg, David Lancaster, David Zander
DoP: David Ungaro
Music: Craig Armstrong
Runtime: 99 mins
The Burnt Orange Heresy is available to Download and Keep on February 22