Tagged: christopher walken

A Late Quartet

I quite enjoyed this one – it’s a bit solemn and certainly takes itself very seriously but the performances are superb and the music’s lovely.

To be fair, if Philip Seymour Hoffman hadn’t been involved I probably wouldn’t have seen it, but he’s a generally reliable indicator of a watchable film, and given a wash, a smart suit and a haircut I still would. He plays second violin in a string quartet which has seen some success thanks to its charismatic and recently widowed cellist, Peter Mitchell, who Christopher Walken plays with considerable grace.

The quartet is shaken by Mitchell’s announcement that he has Parkinson’s and plans to leave them. There’s a suitable replacement musically,  but emotionally it hits the remaining three hard and they spin off in different directions, fuelled by reflections on their own mortality. Mitchell alone seems stable, his desire for the quartet to continue overriding some of the despair he must be feeling. Things are shaken up, and when they settle again, the four are markedly altered in different ways.

This isn’t a film to change the world, but it has some nice touches and strong performances not least from Walken, who last made me cry in a film when I realised I was too far down the row to escape from Seven Psycopaths. It’s not going to change the world, but A Late Quartet will do nicely on a Sunday afternoon with a glass of good red wine.

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Seven Psychopaths

This should have been a live one. Martin McDonagh’s follow up to In Bruges, full of names that you can salivate over – Sam Rockwell, Christopher Walken, Woody  Harrelsen – Harry Dean Stanton for god’s sake. Alas no. Seven Psychopaths is a mess. And not a hot one. It’s a film that puts its foot down so hard on the crazy pedal that it runs out of gas before it’s even left the garage.

It irritated me from the very beginning – two sub-Tarantino hit men chit chatting (Quentin has a lot to answer for)  then, oh joy, here’s  Colin Farrell doing the ‘I’m a bit baffled’ look he does in every film he’s in (see my review of Total Recall… sorry Colin. It’s not personal, really). This time he plays Marty, who is a bit baffled about screenwriting, likes a drink and has a one-dimensional girlfriend (Abby  Cornish) who is so wasted as a character Marty probably wrote her himself.

It’s not long before we’re plunged headlong into a rambling tale of various psychopaths that doesn’t make much sense, has a few laughs and a lot of quite unpleasant violence. It all comes over a bit Adaptation gone baaaad. And not bad in a good way.

I’m sure they all had a ball making it, but it’s hard to find anything to like here – some amazing actors wading aimlessly through a plot that could have been written by the two dim mobsters at the beginning. I’m sure plenty of people at this screening would disagree, and have it down as an oh so hilarious take on the movie business. But frankly, if I’d been on the end of a row I’d have gone home and caught Coronation Street instead. Or the flu. Catching the flu would be an improvement. Cute dog though.