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20 June 2006

Immortal Beloved (1994)

Gary Oldman (Beethoven), Jeroen Krabbé (Schindler), Isabella Rossellini (Countess Erdody), Johanna ter Steege (Johanna)

Directed by Bernard Rose (Candyman)

From Hollywood Video: "During his lifetime, Ludwig van Beethoven had one true love, whom he kept a secret. After Beethoven dies, his protégé becomes obsessed with discovering the identity of the woman."

First of all: how did a guy whose only notable previous directoral experience was Candyman find the funding to direct this film? Bizarre!

Second of all: dreck! What a melodramatic, painful, dull pile of movie poop! Oh no, watch out - BIG MISUNDERSTANDINGS! Secreted notes left undiscovered until it was TOO LATE! Crap on a cracker!

I love Gary Oldman, and most of the time his work is a combination of the most sinister and the most fun an actor can have with any given role. See Léon (evil!), True Romance (badass!), Romeo is Bleeding (loser!), and - my favorite - Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead (hilarious!). (As a warning, however, do not make the mistake and assume that just because he is in Air Force One and Lost in Space that those films are worth seeing. They most certainly are not.) So how is it that his performance here was so wretchedly dull? I cannot account for it. Oldman was brooding, he was pained and bastardly, but to my great disappointment, he was also infernally uninteresting. Shouting and staring are not sufficient tools for characterization.

The mystery was no great mystery. The love affairs were cold and pointless. The whole thing just reeked. Sigh. Oh, and if Napoleon took Vienna with an army as small as what was portrayed here, Vienna must not have been bigger than a village and the whole of the Napoleonic Wars should have taken a day and a half. Utter nonsense. Beethoven rocked the world; this movie sang me an unwanted lullaby.

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