Tim's Vermeer 3.0 stars

Tim's Vermeer movie poster

Teller directs a talkie while Penn - the other half of the comedy/magic duo - narrates and stars in this documentary account of inventor and video game designer Tim Jenison and the device he concocted to replicate the elusive technique that Dutch Master Johannes Vermeer devised to paint with light. Similar to an old time animator’s Rotoscope, Jenison’s mirrored gadget helps the artist “trace” his subjects with a near-photographic precision. The very rich Jenison puddle-jumps his Lear Jet around the globe, boning up on everything from the manner in which Vermeer mixed his paint to grinding a lens to fit his homemade Camera Obscura. Jenison’s The Music Lesson is a bolder and far more impressive act of artistic mimicry than Teller’s original. The endless array of talking heads, filmed in choking closeup, must be the director’s way of enacting revenge for all his years spent in silent servitude. 2013.

Scott Marks

This movie is not currently in theaters.


Dragonfly June 18, 2014 @ 11:56 a.m.

I've never taken much interest in the marriage of art and technology, and I certainly haven't been a fan of Penn and Teller, with their trademark hucksterism and crudeness. But I'll be damned if I didn't admire their documentary Tim's Vermeer, in which an entrepreneur with only tech credentials attempts to paint a Vermeer lookalike using only his hand and 17th century materials. The solution he finds in his "eureka moment" is admirable enough, but the sheer chutzpah of the enterprise is even more astounding and should be enough to inspire anyone with creative inclinations to dream big. Whether our hero has succeeded or not is for every viewer to decide, and not directly comparing the copy with the original is understandable because it would no doubt be something of a letdown at the film's climax. In any case, the final scene, showing the proud inventor with his masterpiece over his fireplace, should make us all green with envy.


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