The Late Quartet (2012)

A-Late-Quartet_02

Score: 1/10.  The “1” instead of zero is due to the presence of Christopher Walken.  What is it about this guy?  One of my favorite actors and I have sat through so many awful films because of him.  Ah well.  The three words for this movie are: Avoid, avoid, avoid.

So why is this movie so awful?  Because it is nothing more than a watered down version of Black Swan, which was nothing more than a combination porn/slasher flick using ballet as the backdrop.  I do believe that director/producer Silberman must see himself as the next Aronfsky with this effort, which, while not violent, uses string players instead of ballet dancers to disguise its sordid themes.   The Late Quartet could have been an intelligent, compelling drama.  Instead the production willingly descends into the gutter, including a truly disgusting storyline where the daughter of two members of the quartet, who are married and have their own midlife issues, embarks on an affair with her much older instructor, who happens to be the lead violinist in the quartet and thus professionally close to her parents.  Her father (Phillip Seymour Hoffman) is the second violinist and cheats on his wife, (Catherine Keener) the violist.  The interaction between these two,  as with the mother/daughter conflict, instead of being portrayed with any subtlety or dignity whatsover, is comprised of pure soap opera drivel and cliches.  We get it, we get it, the second violin is tired of being “Second Fiddle.”  As with everything else in the movie, this theme is delivered with the artistry of a sledgehammer on concrete.  Walken plays the cellist who has to confront the realities of aging and disease, and turns in an artistic performance.  This together with a supporting role played by veteran character actor, Wallace Shawn is the film’s only redeeming aspect.    Some will disagree,  there is obviously an audience for this, and most movie critics don’t have the courage to state when the Emporer isn’t wearing any clothes but I consider that just as unfortunate as the movie itself.  All of the very capable actors in this movie cannot elevate it from the gutter.  Avoid!

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