Rating: 4/10 - Bad
You need to be into the schmaltz of As it is in heaven (2004) to enjoy this film. However, that may still not be enough. As it is in heaven, is a much better art film than this drivel. The music is its only redeeming feature so ratehr buy the soundtrack CD.
Director: Radu Mihăileanu. Screenplay: Radu Mihăileanu, Héctor Cabello Reyes, Thierry Degrandi, Matthew Robbins and Alain-Michel Blanc. Producers: Alain Attal. Cinematographer: Laurent Dailland. Music: Armand Amar, Tchaikovsky Distributor: The Weinstein Company. Starring: Aleksei Guskov, Mélanie Laurent and Miou-Miou. Age Restriction: PG, Running Time: 119 minutes.
Thirty years ago, Andrei Simoniovich Filipov, the renowned conductor of the Russian Bolshoi orchestra, was fired for hiring Jewish musicians. He had to become a cleaner to get by.
One day out of the blue, he finds an official invitation from the prestigious Théâtre du Châtelet. This prompts him to reform his old orchestra. Of course, these people are washed-up drunks. We need to feel bad for them now and hope they will get to Paris in one piece. We need to hope they won't change their minds about going along either. The corny dialogue begs us to feel for people we do not know. These peoples' characters are not developed. Filipov wants to perform a complete Tchaikovsky concerto, which was interrupted by the anti-semitic authorities. Maybe they did not like his immense corniness.
He meets a young violin soloist called Anne-Marie Jacquet(Mélanie Laurent) who will help him become great again. She is quite attractive and she massages his ego. Laurent was much better in Inglourious Basterds.
It is welcoming to see opressed gypsies and Jews seeking some retribution but I think there could have been better films about abuse of those people by the Russian monarchy in the early to mid 1900s and the Russian state after that.
However, Jewish persecution did not have to be theme. My problem is that this movie is so cliched and forced upon the viewer. I did not for the characters. I did not find their silly jokes funny. I think I needed to be washed-up and drunk myself to relate to them. Everything felt cheap and contrived.
Verdict: Rather spend your time watching As it is in heaven. It tells the story of a Swedish music conductor who has been overseas, far away from the small town in Northern Sweden, that he comes from. He decides to come home and is soon asked to listen to the tiny local church choir. You can guess what happens but it much more believable than the trite in The Concert.It also has a good soundtrack and a strong love story.