Le violin rouge
22 June 2009
Offering both brilliance and disappointment, a second viewing of this still rather enchanting film proved that perhaps the film was after all too ambitious for its own good. I love Don McKellar, he is a big influence on my own writing and his sensibilities fairly close to mine, especially with our shared fascination with multiple intersecting stories, but with "Le violin rouge", the sheer scale of the film, spanning three centuries and five countries as we follow the titular red violin, a real thing of beauty, on its journey. Three of these stories are very good, particularly the violin's own 'origin story', the other two quite dull and occasionally painful (Oxford and Shanghai). The screenplay is still excellent despite the flaws, and plays out like an intriguing, particularly romantic "Twilight Zone" episode for music lovers, leaving almost everything up for interpretation. Perhaps those flaws would have gone down easier had the cinematography not been a pretty dull TV-level affair in general and Francois Girard's direction so flat much of the time, but unfortunately those aspects also hurt the film overall, though neither are incompetent. A generally strong cast with an unusual role for Samuel L. Jackson help keep the film involving.

It's a real charmer, a great idea and with many great scenes, a frame story that more than just does its job, and a truly epic, yet grounded, scope. I wish I could love this film like I used to, but some of it just doesn't hold up like it used to. I do want to read the screenplay at some point because I'm nearly entirely sure that this reads better than it plays out on screen. Despite my expressing disappointment in the film here, I do need to clarify that I still recommend this film, and quite strongly. If nothing else, it is very unique. Thankfully, there's more than that to recommend it. How about this for instance: one of cinema's great scores by John Corigliano, with the violin solos played by Joshua Bell?
0 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.

Recently Viewed