A Late Quartet
Approaching their 25th anniversary concert, a world-renowned string quartet find their world disrupted by the news that cellist Peter (Walken) has been diagnosed with the early stages of Parkinson’s disease. The prospect of replacing him forces all to re-evaluate lives that have long been based on rigorous routine and familiarity. Egos clash, lust is unearthed and complacency is questioned, particularly by the married couple within the group (Hoffman and Keener).
A Late Quartet has numerous subplots fighting for attention, the unfortunate result being that many of them, and thus the film itself, feel under-realised. The entire cast puts in good work, including a lively Imogen Poots as the couple’s daughter, though she finds herself caught in the most tiresome plot developments. Walken is on especially fine, nuanced form, hence it's a particular shame that after a certain point his character completely vanishes from the story until the group’s final show. Considering his touching struggles are the catalyst for every other narrative strand, it seems misguided that the film should lose track of him for no good reason. [Josh Slater-Williams]