Tuesday, February 4, 2014

A Late Quartet, the movie reviewed

Phillip Seymour Hoffman's tragic death inspired me to take a look and see what movies Netflix might have streaming in which he acted. I was pleased to find A Late Quartet which not only had Hoffman but Catherine Keener and Christopher Walken.

This is a superb movie which was sadly appropriate to watch at this time. Like so many movies filmed in New York City, the city played a silent but essential role in the film. In fact one could almost say that the film could have taken place nowhere else.

Hoffman plays second violin in a legendary string quartet that is celebrating its 25th season. Walken plays the cellist, also the very senior member of the group. Catherine Keener plays the violist. I can't discuss the plot without spoiling it, so I will just encourage you to watch the film to find out what happens.

The milieu is the life of a professional classical musician living in NYC. The central music is the very dramatic Opus 131 late quartet of Beethoven. Everything flows from that; the culture, the refinement, the elegance is all a given. And the Passion with a capital P.

This is a very human drama showing how people with all their frailties can be and often are ennobled by their art. It is full of metaphor and somewhat melodramatic like the music they are playing, with these three great actors and a great supporting cast creating a very watchable, interesting and entertaining ensemble work that aspires to Art. Recommended!