Sunday, August 9, 2020

Film review: The Song of Names is gorgeous and eloquent, if not exuberant

This solidly acted, well-scored, polished film never feels like it’s going anywhere

This interesting tale of musical brilliance, friendship and ambition, all wrapped up in a mystery is a well-told spectacle, though it offers little that’s particularly special.

Solidly acted by Jonah Hauer-King and Gerran Howell, it’s a well-scored, certainly polished film that never feels like it’s going anywhere. That is, until all of a sudden, those actors grow up, and the story connects into one heck of a final act.

Bolstered by Tim Roth at the middle of things — and God do I miss him on-screen — it’s never boring, but it never really picks up speed as he hunts his childhood friend — a violinist prodigy who took off on the night of his biggest solo show.

But it’s only when Clive Owen, as the mysterious friend, shows up in the final third of the film that The Song Of Names really finds legs. That it ever does is a tribute to Owen’s unsung skill as an actor.

He’s spent a lot of time in some terrible movies, but when he finds the right role, Clive Owen truly is dazzling, and he and Roth make for a spellbinding pair here.

However, if the reunion happened a little earlier, we may have all been treated to a much better movie. But as we have it, The Song Of Names is really good, while never really grasping the greatness it tries to reach for.

Jordan Parker is a PR professional and journalist in Halifax, and these reviews appear first on his film blog Parker & the Picture Shows.

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