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| Sony Pictures Classics Inventor Tim Jenison (left) talks to the artist David Hockney about a theory behind the techniques of painter Johannes Vermeer, in a scene from the documentary "Tim's Vermeer."
Movie review: Documentary ‘Tim’s Vermeer’ doesn’t answer the big questions
First Published Mar 13 2014 03:48 pm • Last Updated Mar 13 2014 04:36 pm

The documentary "Tim’s Vermeer" tackles an intriguing subject — one man’s obsession with another man’s art — but could use a little more of the Vegas splash that the filmmakers, the magic team of Penn & Teller, usually employ.

Teller directs this look at one of his partner Penn Jillette’s friends, inventor and engineer Tim Jenison, who became fascinated with the paintings of 17th-century Dutch master Johannes Vermeer. Specifically, Jenison read into a theory, advanced by artist David Hockney, that Vermeer used optics and an early version of a camera obscura to create super-accurate images. So Jenison, in a slightly crazy and painstaking effort, sets out to paint a Vermeer in a San Antonio warehouse.

At a glance


‘Tim’s Vermeer’

Opens Friday, March 14, at the Broadway Centre Cinemas; rated PG-13 for some strong language; 80 minutes.

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His efforts are interesting, though he misses the forest for the trees (or, rather, plants one tree at a time without seeing the forest). Teller’s straightforward retelling, shot in glaring video, dutifully shows Jenison’s process without exploring the wondrous "why" behind it.

movies@sltrib.com; www.sltrib.com/entertainment

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