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Christopher Walken gives the standout performance in this melodramatic story of a famous musical quartet torn apart by illness, internal-power play and underlying passions.  Philip Seymour Hoffman, Catherine Keener and Mark Ivanir also give good performances as the other members of the quartet, with Imogen Poots good – but annoying – as two of the protagonist’s rather spoiled daughter. 

Whilst the acting is generally very good, the film is not as good as it could or should have been with this stellar cast.   The script is clunky and signposts the plot direction like a neon sign on Times Square.  When Mark Ivanir’s character gets told to “Unleash your passion” you just know where the film is going next.   It is also difficult to warm to any of the characters:  whilst the characterisation of ruthlessly focused musicians at the top of their game might be unerringly accurate, it doesn’t really make for a feelgood film.   That being said, it is worth seeing for Christopher Walken’s awesome performance.  Possibly an Oscar nomination for the year? 

Fad Rating:  FFf.

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