There are pleasures to be had from Yaron Zilberman’s “A Late Quartet,” opening in limited release today (11/2/12), principally having to do with its treatment of group dynamics battling artistic temperaments. The question is whether those are sufficient to warrant sitting through the rest of it.
Set in the world of professional classical musicians, “A Late Quartet” considers a famous string quartet comprised of Christopher Walken, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Catherine Keener and Mark Ivanir, who have been performing together for 25 years.
But their equilibrium is threatened when Peter (Walken), the group’s cellist, is diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, which will end his career. The choice has to be made – disband the quartet or replace Peter, who was the linchpin of starting the quartet. But the moment of transition provokes Robert (Hoffman) to step forward and assert that, though he is second violinist, he wants to start playing some leads. When both the first violinist, Daniel (Ivanir), and Juliette (Keener), Robert’s wife who is the group’s violist, object to the idea, well, that’s when Zilberman loses his way.
This review continues on my website.