A movie review of “The Devil’s Violinist”: Bernard Rose, maker of the Beethoven biography “Immortal Beloved,” wrote and directed an even steamier take on violinist Niccolò Paganini, starring present-day violin virtuoso David Garrett. Rating: 2.5 stars out of 4.
Bernard Rose, who wrote and directed the steamy 1994 Beethoven biography “Immortal Beloved,” wrote and directed this even steamier portrait of the bad-boy violin virtuoso Niccolò Paganini, played by 21st-century violin virtuoso David Garrett.
It may be stunt casting, but it often works during the musical sequences. Naturally, “24 Caprices” and other Paganini compositions play a dramatic role on the soundtrack. And Garrett almost does for “God Save the King” what Jimi Hendrix did for “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
But Garrett, making his acting debut, isn’t a strong enough presence to carry the nonmusical sequences. He’s fine as the bratty Paganini and as the concerned father who loves his 6-year-old boy, but the transitions between these two extremes are pretty rough.
Movie Review ★★½
‘The Devil’s Violinist,’ with David Garrett, Jared Harris, Joely Richardson, Christian McKay. Written and directed by Bernard Rose. 122 minutes. Rated R for some strong sexuality/nudity and for drug use. Sundance Cinemas (21+).
More entertaining are Joely Richardson, as a corrupt, gossipy journalist who could have stepped out of “Birdman,” and Christian McKay as an impresario who gives up his fortune in order to bring the financially demanding Paganini to London in 1830. McKay played Orson Welles in “Me and Orson Welles,” and it’s fun to see him as a variation on that money-strapped character.
Most Read Entertainment Stories
- Seattle native Jean Smart wins Emmy Award for lead actress in a comedy
- 'East of the Mountains' review: Tom Skerritt shines as an ill man journeying home from Seattle
- How John Coltrane's Seattle recording of 'A Love Supreme' was found, thanks to 2 local saxophonists
- Judge cancels Rod Stewart's trial, sets plea deal hearing
- AP PHOTOS: Elegance and whimsy mix at Venice Film Festival
Jared Harris has a rather thankless role as Paganini’s manager, who may, as the title suggests, be the devil himself. Ambiguity is built into the part, but not in interesting ways.