A Late Quartet

We know immediately that we are in the hands of skilled professionals: the camera work, the music, and the acting leave very little room for improvement. We open in the midst of a chamber music concert, as we watch four stringed instruments play Beethoven's Opus 131 in C-sharp Minor. This group of musicians has performed together for over 20 years, so it is a finely tuned instrument, tightly bound together by a common love of music and shared lives. As a result, anything that affects one, immediately reverberates through all.

In my opinion, the conflicts that arise in this R-rated drama are long overdue, so they aren't a surprise. In fact, seeing the top-notch acting wasn't a surprise either, given this cast.

Here are the principal players:
  • Christopher Walken ("Seven Psychopaths") is the cello player whose situation sparks the drama. We really appreciate how he copes with his news.
  • Philip Seymour Hoffman ("Moneyball") is the second violin whose behavior sparks another drama; but he's really, really sorry!
  • Mark Ivanir ("Big Miracle" he was the Russian ship captain) is the first violin whose unrelenting precision has made this quartet the cohesive success it is today.
  • Catherine Keener ("Please Give") is plays the viola, lending its mellow voice and her strong but mellow personality to the group.
  • Imogene Poots ("Jane Eyre" 2011) is the daughter of two of our players and the lover of a third. Talk about rebellion!
I loved the snowy serenity of a wintry Central Park in New York City, the familiar lobby of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and other well-known locales. I also loved the rich helpings of classical music and an insider's view of the rivalry, egos, and jealousy that would be inevitable in such a long-standing association. In my own, rather biased experience (I played viola), I found it to be more fun to PLAY chamber music than LISTEN to it.

Expect some nudity and profanity, no gunshots, vehicular mayhem or blowie uppie stuff, lots of classical music and a slightly abrupt but poignant ending.
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