A LATE QUARTET directed by Yaron Zilberman, written by Zilberman and Seth Grossman, with Christopher Walken, Catherine Keener and Phillip Seymour Hoffman. 105 minutes. A Mongrel release. Opens Friday (November 30). See listing. Read the actor interviews with Christopher Walken and Catherine Keener. Rating: NNN
When Peter (Christopher Walken), leader of a famous string quartet, begins to experience signs of a degenerative disease and contemplates retirement, ambition and life crises start rocking his collaborators (Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Mark Ivanir and Catherine Keener).
There's some great writing in director Yaron Zilberman and Seth Grossman's script on the topic of music - a speech about Peter's encounter with Pablo Casals is amazing - and good performances by a great cast, especially Walken, showing more gravitas than he has in decades.
Until the last scene, though, the film is emotionally slack, and no one except Walken is credible as a string player, a major problem with the editing and coaching.