TIFF Review: One Last Deal

Score: B+

Director: Klaus Härö

Cast: Heikki Nousiainen, Pairjo Lonka, Amos Brotherus, Stefan Sauk

Running Time: 95 Minutes

Rated: NR

“One last deal.  That’s all I’m asking.”

An intense and at times painful look at the effects that come from the choices we make, Klaus Härö’s One Last Deal is an emotionally charged character study that proves that things only matter when seen in the eye of the beholder.

Olavi, an aging art dealer who struggles with the modern take on art appreciation, is the main subject of Härö’s dissection.  Frustrated with the newfound algorithms that tell people what to like, he still counts on his instinct to dictate his next move.  When an unidentified painting shows up at an auction, Olavi sees one last shot at a big score.  At the same time, an opportunity to reconnect with his estranged daughter and grandson appears, forcing our protagonist to once again decide between work and family.

With a visually muted pallet, One Last Deal bears a slow and steady approach that metaphorically connects us to the film’s leading player.  Härö effortlessly draws in the viewer as he patiently introduces us to Olavi, allowing his firm grip on the past to be both noticed and understood.  The introduction of Olavi’s grandson Otto, who desperately needs the chance to help out around the dwindling shop, provides a better picture of the technologically advancing times, but it also allows for a merging of the two worlds, one that will become a driving force for the rest of the film.

As Olavi begins to understand his grandson, and the two utilize each other’s assets to bring about the full history of the painting of an old man, you can’t help but notice the growing chemistry between the two family members.

Heikki Nousiainen’s portrayal of Olavi is near flawless.  His demeanor beautifully constructs a relatable character, one that grows exponentially with the presence of Amos Brotherus’ Otto.  It is through their budding relationship that you begin to understand the backstory between Olavi and his daughter, Otto’s mother, Lea. Though the reveal doesn’t come as much of a surprise, the emotional impact it has on those watching on is somewhat surprising.  Her resentment, mixed with his somewhat unawareness, is heartbreaking.  It is at this moment that One Last Deal becomes more than an art film.

When the auction day arrives, and Olavi makes his big move, you assume the story is over.  However, there lies a lot beyond the gavel as Otto’s connection with his grandfather brings about one of the toughest things involving family: money.  A hint of foreshadowing provides some clues to just how the story will end, though it should be made aware that Härö does not disappoint with the journey he takes to get there.

The Last Deal crosses the finish line in much the same way that it started: slowly.  However, alas, when it comes to a film that successfully integrates both the evolution of art and the evolution of one’s perspective, you can’t help but sit back and appreciate the beauty of it all.


About Stephen Davis

Stephen Davis
I owe this hobby/career to the one and only Stephanie Peterman who, while interning at Fox, told me that I had too many opinions and irrelevant information to keep it all bottled up inside. I survived my first rated R film, Alive, at the ripe age of 8, it took me months to grasp the fact that Julia Roberts actually died at the end of Steel Magnolias, and I might be the only person alive who actually enjoyed Sorority Row…for its comedic value of course. While my friends can drink you under the table, I can outwatch you when it comes iconic, yet horrid 80s films like Adventures in Babysitting and Troop Beverly Hills. I have no shame when it comes to what I like, and if you have a problem with that, then we’ll settle it on the racquetball court. I see too many movies to actually win any film trivia contest, so don’t waste your first pick on me. My friends rent movies from my bookcase shelves, and one day I do plan to start charging. I long to live in LA, where my movie obsession will actually help me fit in, but for now I am content with my home in Austin. I prefer indies to blockbusters, Longhorns to Sooners and Halloween to Friday the 13th. I miss the classics, as well as John Ritter, and I hope to one day sit down and interview the amazing Kate Winslet.

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