Tim’s Vermeer

TIM’S VERMEER directed by Teller. 80 minutes. A.

TIM’S VERMEER directed by Teller. 80 minutes. A Mongrel Media release. Opens Friday (February 21). For venues and times, see Movies. Rating: NNNN

Art historians may get in a huff over Vegas headliners Penn & Teller and their revelatory new documentary on the magic behind Johannes Vermeer’s paintings. The illusionists, known for breaking down tricks, are the ideal hosts for a film that deconstructs the 17th-century artist’s craft and hypothesizes about how he so meticulously recreated lifelike light and details.

The filmmakers follow their good friend Tim Jenison, an inventor behind 3D imaging, who obsessively attempts to paint a Vermeer with his own hands in order to figure out what optic technology the Dutch master might have used.

Thanks to Penn & Teller’s inexhaustible charm in front of and behind the camera and Jenison’s endearing case of OCD, the film is a comic delight that marvels at the intersections between art and science, painting and cinema, illusionists and documentarians.

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