THE BURNT ORANGE HERESY Review — It’s a Good, Slow Burn

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In her The Burnt Orange Heresy review, Lisa Johnson Mandell says the slow simmer to reach the ultimate boiling point is worth the wait.

The Burnt Orange Heresy reviewIn the beginning of The Burnt Orange Heresy, we see annoyingly smug art critic James Figueras (Claes Bang) in Italy, lecturing a group of eager tourists about an ersatz masterpiece supposedly done by a relatively unknown artist. They hang on his every word until he makes them feel like fools for believing the yarn he’s spinning about a painting he created. By doing this he reveals that he pretentious cad who holds his audience in utter disdain. Therein lies the tone of the film.

As it happens with some pretentious cads, the lovely, lithesome and urbane Berenice Hollis (Elizabeth Debicki, an intriguing actress I hope to see a lot more of), is attracted to him. She approaches him after the class, a torrid affair ensues, and Figueres ends up taking her along for a stay at the luxurious villa near Lake Como of powerful art collector (Mick Jagger), who reveals he is the patron of a world-renowned yet reclusive artist (Donald Sutherland). Nefarious scheming ensues, and therein lies the plot of the film.

There is much to look at as the movie takes its time to unfold. It’s befitting that a film about art, directed by Guiseppe Capotondi, be extremely artistic, with vivid and well-thought images spread before our eyes. It’s not so much a thriller as it is a leisurely, modern nourish crime drama, based on a 1971 crime novel by Charles Willeford.

While Bang is cunning as Figueras sinks to unthinkable lows, it is Debicki’s Bernice who attempts bravado and sophistication, but ultimately reveals fatal innocence, who steals the show. And Jagger’s rakish degeneracy is quite the treat to watch. Although The Burnt Orange Heresy lasts just over an hour and a half, if feels a bit longer, with the vast majority of the “action” happening in the third act. But it’s worth the slow simmer to reach the boiling point.

Rated R

1 Hour, 38 Minutes

If this The Burnt Orange Heresy review gives you a burning desire to watch it, see Rotten Tomatoes for details on where to find it.

In her The Burnt Orange Heresy review, Lisa Johnson Mandell says the slow simmer to reach the ultimate boiling point is worth the wait.


Lisa Johnson Mandell gives you the latest TV news and movie reviews all on as well as the latest on celebrity homes in Hollywood, celebrity homes in Malibu and beyond, all on At Home In Hollywood.

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Lisa Johnson Mandell

Lisa Johnson Mandell

Lisa Johnson Mandell is an award winning journalist, author and film/TV critic. She can be heard regularly on Cumulus radio stations throughout the US, and on BBC Radio.

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