Monday, January 7, 2008

Copying Beethoven? Copying Amadeus

Oh dear. Settling in to watch good old dependable Ed Harris playing Beethoven at the orders of Agnieszka Holland (of Europa, Europa fame) was a terrible mistake.

A tin-eared script full of out-and-out plagiarism from Amadeus (the mooning, and fart noises; the deathbed transcription scene) and Dearly Beloved (the deaf man has to turn to hear applause scene). An invented lead character so anachronistic (Diane Kruger as, um, a feisty young woman who might as well be contemporary) as to never for a second be believable. A mother superior (Phyllida Law) borrowed from a million other movies, with the same hoary old lines. A stolen quote from Samuel Johnson without reference (about the dog walking on its hind legs). A suitor who climbs the convent walls.

It's like a time travel movie without the time machine. Salieri reinvented as a pretty female student, rather than an embittered middle-aged court composer. What were they thinking?

Plus points? Some nice photography and the moment when the choir blasts out the main theme from the 9th Symphony, conducted by the deaf Ludwig but...

Minus points? ...then we get a ridiculous close-up of his useless nephew being all tearful. And plenty of other moments of appalling dialogue. Also some telegraphing in dialogue of scenes we were then shown as if we hadn't got it the first time (like showing the deaf conductor leading the orchestra astray).

Again. Oh, dear.

No comments: