I have purchased Martin Freeman's back catalogue available on DVD (with the exception of the awful Hitchhiker's Guide - Sorry, Martin, definitely not YOUR fault!) and suppose I could therefore be considered somewhat biased with regards to my opinion of his work. However, with regards to Nightwatching I can only echo a previous reviewer's statement, because Martin Freeman was simply amazing as Rembrandt. Having mainly seen Martin in comedic series such as The Office and Hardware, I simply hadn't expected such a mind-blowing performance (No offence, Martin...) and was thoroughly impressed. The dialogue-heavy film with some very long scenes which don't appear to have been cut must have been a hard slog for the actors; compliments to all involved. As viewer, I, too, was pretty exhausted in the end because to fully appreciate the storyline and dialogue, and do this film the justice it deserves, I found that I had to really concentrate and allow myself become immersed in what was happening on screen.
Not a Rembrandt fan, I admit that I would never have bought this DVD if it wouldn't have had Martin Freeman in the starring role and I'm grateful to the casting crew for their little stroke of genius. As soon as I can take some time off, I will travel to Amsterdam to see the painting for myself. Since first watching the DVD, I have also loaned it to most of my friends who, too, enjoyed the film very much indeed.