New Movie Spotlight: Tim’s Vermeer

Every Friday we spotlight a buzz-worthy new movie opening in Philadelphia.

Name: Tim’s Vermeer
Genre: Documentary
Logline: It’s Penn & Teller: Bullshit meets The Da Vinci Code

Quick Review: Teller’s first feature film is a curious doc about Tim Jenison, a wildly successful and inventive man who becomes obsessed with uncovering the secret of how Dutch master Johannes Vermeer created such breathtakingly precise paintings. Jenision comes to his own theory, and with a great amount of money, time and application, attempts to recreate one of Vermeer’s masterpieces himself. Jenison, obsessive without being obsequious, curious without seeming egocentric, is a fascinating character, and the meticulous methodology behind his theory — of course to forever remain unproven, as Vermeer left absolutely no notes about his creations — leads to a thoroughly engaging film about obsession every bit as much as it’s about art.

Best Element: Long, time-lapse sequences of Jenison’s tireless efforts, from recreating Vermeer’s Dutch studio in San Antonio to his agonizingly detailed attempt at painting The Music Lesson.

Worst Element: Teller’s brassy, show-barking partner Penn Jillette handles the hosting duties, and, as always, he’s a mixed bag of amusement and mild irritation.

Sample Dialogue: “It’s possible that [Vermeer] was more of a tinkerer, more of a geek, and in that way, I feel a kinship with him.”

Should I See It?: Absolutely, but save your money and wait till it’s released on DVD.

Tim’s Vermeer is playing now at Ritz at the Bourse.