A Late Quartet TIFF 2012 Review

Posted 10 years ago by myetvmedia

Yaron Zilberman’s “A Late Quartet” is a break-through first fiction feature for him. With a star studded cast and brilliantly crafted screenplay, Zilberman reveals the intricacies and hardships that come into play within the dysfunctional family that is the Quartet. Comprised of three violin players and a cellist, this Quartet in particular has many colourful characters all with their own history and issues.

On the verge of their 25th anniversary the group aims to have their most ambitious recital to date; however, one of their members, Peter(Christopher Walken), becomes ill and is diagnosed with the stages of Parkinson’s. The other members Robert (Philip Seymour Hoffman), Juliette (Catherine Keener) and Daniel (Mark Ivanir) all react to the hard news in their own way and the group struggles to keep it together. It is from this through line that Zilberman creates a fantastic picture.

The film opens on a bare stage with four empty seats. The band takes their seats and all make eye contact with one another. It isn’t friendly, it isn’t hatred but there is a great depth in these looks. Zilberman uses foreshadowing to let the audience know that there is much to learn about the history of the group that has brought them to this moment in time; and what a beautiful set up it is. The music throughout is classical and lovely, there is humour, drama and even scandal. How the members all relate to one another is a mystery that I will leave for the audience to solve because that is part of the fun.

“A Late Quartet”, is one of my favourite pics from TIFF 2012 and features a break out performance by Walken, which may prove to be a serious Oscar contender.

-Chris Murphy



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