One Last Deal
A gentle drama about a hapless art dealer looking to make one last score before retirement, Finnish filmmaker Klaus Härö’s One Last Deal provides a satisfying if not exceptional melodrama about aging, paintings, and the thrill of the chase.
Olavi (Heikki Nousiainen) runs a sad, quiet little shop on a busy street. His fine eye for detail and his expertise are no longer respected. His shop is a museum both for dusty unsold paintings and the decrepit cash register and strewn papers that speak to his outdated, analog world. At an auction house down the street, he spots a painting that he believes in his gut to be undervalued, setting in motion an attempt to redeem his reputation and pocket enough money to finally retire.
Along with his grandson Otto (Amos Brotherus) and a retinue of friends, Olavi seeks to cobble together enough to make the deal stick. Along the way, he must confront his estranged daughter, Lea (Pirjo Lonka), whom he neglected while building a business that now seems solidly in the past.
The film shifts between a family melodrama and a kind of thriller, where Olavi rushes against time to secure the coveted painting and prove its authenticity. The pacing is gentle pace and has no real bite, but that makes for a kind of accessible, emotional movie that will speak to casual audiences.
While a bit heavy-handed at times in its emotional manipulation, One Last Deal nonetheless does an effective job at drawing viewers into Olavi’s circumstances. Although the film is hardly a shocker in terms of narrative twists and turns, it provides a solid look at the man and his mission, and a firm foundation on which to feel empathy for his struggle to solidify his legacy and repair the damage he has caused along the way.