Immortal Beloved Review
The FilmBasically it seems that Beethoven was a bit of a cock. Arrogant, headstrong, unforgiving and given to almost casual cruelty to the ones he loved. It seems fair to say that Ludwig behaved rather badly during his adult life. Was his character caused by the loneliness of an artist misunderstood by the many, or was his distance and selfishness simply the result of being forced into alienation by his deafness?
We learn of a mysterious woman and a missed assignation, and soon Jeroen Krabbe's former secretary is hearing from the women who loved his deceased master. And what women they are, the intoxicating Valerie Golina and the fallen noble of Isabelle Rossellini - surely one of them most be the love of Ludwig's life.
This approach to the story of a great artist allows much rumination, but it also gives the spectator a more basic kind of mystery to solve and follow. You could forget that this film is an examination of great art with all the famous faces and the huffing and puffing of Oldman's portrayal. Similarly the offer of an easy resolution at the climax embraces a soapy notion of an unfortunate lover became bitter through events, rather than anything too taxing or complex in the way of enlightenment. I would have preferred ambiguity and less in the way of actors doing accents, but Rose's film is still braver and more intelligent than many a biopic and it dresses itself brilliantly in the musical clothes of its subject as well.
Transfer and SoundThis standard def release is re-released for those not able to procure it's higher definition brother. It has a decent anamorphic presentation at 2.35:1 and possesses two elegant sound options along with optional English subs.
The image does look quite soft at times despite what looks like a strong blemish free print. The image is thankfully free from much filtering and the autumnal hues are shown well, even if some passages look too dark. Colours are occasionally smeared and some edges are overdone.
Discs and Special FeaturesNo extras sadly, but this dual layer disc is about 85% used by the main transfer and this means a very healthy bit rate. The menu uses poster art to frame some scenes from the film and the options are simple to navigate
SummaryThis is a fine entertainment that begs the question whatever happened to Bernard Rose?
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