Hank’s Recommendations 02/12/13

hank_paperA LATE QUARTET — This is my favorite film of the new year.

The first scene opens in a New York City symphonic hall, the stage bare except for the instruments, the seats filled with a hushed, anticipant audience.

We’re about to be treated not only to some fine string quartet music, but to the drama of the musicians who play it.

The Fugue String Quartet is about to celebrate its twenty-fifth year together, at the same time they are on the cusp of losing the creative, professional and personal harmony that they’ve worked so hard to maintain. Not to mention a prodigal daughter following in the footsteps of two of the musicians who are married.

This is an adult drama underscored by beautiful symphonic and quartet music and an on-location New York sensibility. It also offers a quartet of finely tuned performances that will keep your eyes as well as ears riveted: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Catherine Keener, Mark Ivanir and Christopher Walken, the latter whom modulates his well-known twitchy cultic persona into a performance that’s perfectly moving.

This film is about passion versus discipline, nature versus training and, above all, harmony versus going solo. There’s not a moment in the movie that’s not natural or, in every sense of the word, beautifully played. It’s a disciplined film about the rise of discord and the affirmation of harmony that in the end packs an emotional wallop.


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