FOUR LAST SONGS: DVD
Larry (Stanley Tucci) is a chronically unsatisfied ex-pat living in a village on a Spanish island in the Mediterranean. The village is famous for having been the home of one of Europe's most celebrated composers. Although Larry hoped to absorb some of the great man's glory, his modest talents have instead confined him to playing the piano in local bars. Desperate to make his mark Larry sets about staging a gala concert as a tribute to the late composer. His plans, however, are at risk from everyone including his partner, the neurotic, Miranda (Jessica Stevenson); the composer's beautiful muse, Helena (Emmanuelle Seigner); Veronica (Marisa Paredes), the master's embittered widow; Sebastian (Hugh Bonneville), a social-climbing Englishman and his feckless younger brother, Dickie (Rhys Ifans); and new arrival Frankie (Jena Malone), Larry's illegitimate daughter who's been trying to track him down for years.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Adorned with the sublime beauty of the island setting, Four Last Songs is a dramedy with several moving parts, like the lovely antique clock which plays a symbolic part in the relationship between the brothers Sebastian (Hugh Bonneville) and Dickie (Rhys Ifans). The darkness of their story - revealed only near the end - casts a shadow over the colourful aspects of the plot, in which restaurant pianist Larry (Stanly Tucci) tries to attach himself to the glory of a dead composer of renown, whose widow, Veronica (Marisa Paredes) is an embittered figure of loneliness living in a large but empty mansion.
Tucci is well cast as the sometimes hapless, well meaning clown who clings to his idea, even when it seems doomed. Complicating his life is the unexpected arrival of his 17 year old daughter Frankie (Jena Malone), conceived in a weekend fling and strenuously ignored ever since by Larry. She places new demands on a man who never wanted children, feeling totally inadequate for the task.
Jessica Stevenson as Miranda, Larry's music partner - she sings - and his squeeze, is a fireball of passion and jealousy, while Emmanuelle Seigner as the late composer's muse, Helena, is a figure of ghostly allure. The screenplay seems to have been painstakingly put together with a variety of elements as if following some pattern from a French movie - with suitable seductions and conflicts - with sometimes bumpy work, both in editing and directing. There are moments of overt sentimentality, but performances are great and the endlessly fabulous scenery, day and night, is a huge bonus.
Published May 1, 2008
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FOUR LAST SONGS: DVD (M)
CAST: Stanly Tucci, Rhys Ifans, Hugh Bonneville, Jena Malone,Jessica Hynes, Karl Johnson, Virle Bramly, Marisa Paredes, Emmanuelle Seigner
PRODUCER: Ruth Caleb, Mate Catnero
DIRECTOR: Francesca Joseph
SCRIPT: Francesca Joseph
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Javier Salmones
EDITOR: St John O'Rorke
MUSIC: Dan Jones,
PRODUCTION DESIGN: John Stevenson
RUNNING TIME: 110 minutes
PRESENTATION: 16:9; DD 5.1
SPECIAL FEATURES: trailer
DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Madman
DVD RELEASE: March 19, 2008
RIVERSIDE SNEAK PEEK PREMIERES
A program of premiere screenings of new movies prior to their commercial release
on 4 consecutive Tuesdays - March 10, 17, 24, 31, 2015 - at Riverside Theatre,
Curated & presented by Andrew L. Urban, discussion to
follow with special guests. Briefing notes provided.