Monday, 15 July 2013

Movie Review: Immortal Beloved (1994)

The Movie of one of the Greatest and most Tragic Men in all of History this is my "Ode To Joy".

As i have said before on this blog, in my top 10 films of 2012, I adore Rock Music, hence why Rock of Ages was one of my favourite films of 2012. But that been said I also love and appreciate Classical Music. Yes I know they are worlds apart but they are believe it or not my two favourite genres of music. Beethoven happens to be my joint favourite composer with good old Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (review of "Amadeus" to follow). So having discovered a movie from the early nineties about Beethoven's life, which starred Gary Oldman as the man himself, well let's say overjoyed isn't the word.

So what's this film about?. Well as mentioned before it follows Ludwig Van Beethoven's life, well be it love life with flashbacks of his childhood. The film starts off with a sort of similar start as the  great classic movie "Citizen Kane", by that I mean its sort of the same, but this isn't a bad thing!. The film starts with the death of Beethoven, okay I hear you saying where does the Citizen Kane reference come in?, Well Beethoven has his Beloved in his will whom he has left everything too and also a love letter to his beloved. But like Citizen Kane with his "Rosebud", nobody knows whom this is. So enter his only friend Schindler (Jeroen KrabbĂ©), to take up the quest of finding out whom this Beloved is. What follows is Schindler finding and interviewing the various known women of Beethoven's life and just like Citizen Kane these interviews are told with the help of flashback scenes. These work wonderfully, showing this great man at various stages of his life like peeling back layers of an Artichoke, we get deeper into his mindset. In these stories we see Beethoven became quite a grumpy old so and so in his later life, mentally abusing his nephew, cursing everyone, drinking and blaming everyone for his deafness which figuratively, kills him.

But this Is the master stroke of the film once we find out the reasons why he is like this it hits us in the gut and heart, this emotion and power we feel is aided by in my view his greatest piece of music the 9th Symphony. The scenes with this piece of music just answer so much and show us what the "Ode to Joy" means to Beethoven... It is powerful film making. cast and direction of this film are spot on, when you consider the year this came out its easy to see why it was missed this is 1994 we had Shawshank, Forest Gump, Pulp Fiction, wow what a year it was!. Gary Oldman is amazing for me he is probably one of the most underrated actors of all time, he always gives 100%, I love watching his work. In this film he shows so much emotion, when he comes to the point where he knows he's going deaf you just can't help but feel for him, and the pain Oldman portrays is just spot on through out.

Now this been about Beethoven it has to have his music as the soundtrack and yes they delivered. We have Moonlight Sonata, the 5th Symphony, the before mentioned 9th and many others. Not only  are they all correct and present, they are used in conjunction with the story it's great how they do it. 

Now if you appreciate films that show a mans life and what he had to go through to endure greatness you need to see this, it is one of my favourite films of all time, and the Ode to Joy scene is fantastic. A truly beautiful film and the perfect "Ode" to one of the greatest men of all time.
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