Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Film Review: COPYING BEETHOVEN (2006, Agnieszka Holland)
Stars: 5 of 5.
Running Time: 104 minutes.
Notable Cast or Crew: Ed Harris, Diane Kruger, Steven J. Rivele and Christopher Wilkinson (the writers of ALI and NIXON).
Tag-line: "He was the greatest composer of his time. One last performance would define his genius."
Best one-liner: "God whispers into the ears of some men, but he shouts into mine!"
Remember the YOUNG INDIANA JONES CHRONICLES? Indy would be visiting Africa for just one day, and next thing you know he's hanging out with Teddy Roosevelt on safari and inspiring Albert Schweitzer to start practicing medicine. COPYING BEETHOVEN is a lot like that. The screenplay is laughable. Probably the only historically accurate thing in this movie is Ed Harris' wig. But you shouldn't care. I didn't come here for a fact-based history lesson. I came here to see Ed Harris act like a fuckin' lunatic.
And I was not disappointed. Given the multitude of negative reviews, I was expecting something really lackluster and boring, but damn, was I in for the shock of a lifetime.
Harris plants an intense kiss atop the head of director Agnieszka Holland as Diane Kruger looks on.
Harris is brilliant. No hyperbole can do justice to what it is exactly that he does. He is intense.
He is committed. I feel like he out-commits Harvey Keitel, and I thought those words would never pass through my lips. Harris' Beethoven rocks at arm-wrestling, walks around half-naked, moons people when they mention the "Moonlight Sonata," hates cats, horrifies old ladies, pours water on his neighbors, beats up sickly old men, makes fart noises with his mouth to mock people, smashes a young dandy's life's work, and happens to be the greatest musical genius of the 19th Century. Basically if the thought of a totally crazed Ed Harris holding a horn to his ear and saying "Eh? Whaaat? WHAAAT?!" for 104 minutes appeals to you, then you have found your Holy Grail. I have.