When I hear a movie stars Christopher Walken, Catherine Keener, and Phillip Seymour Hoffman, it goes on my must-see list. This afternoon, I went to see them in “A Late Quartet,” and can report that you don’t have to bother.
It’s not a horrible movie, but the story — about a string quartet that’s been together for 25 years and finds itself dealing with aging, adultery, and jealousy — isn’t as compelling as it should be. While Keener and Hoffman put in their usual solid performances, the plot should have given us a lot more of Walken, who is outstanding as the quartet’s eldest member, a cellist battling early-onset Parkinson’s. There’s one scene late in the movie, in which Walken tells a story of meeting Pablo Casals, that is more riveting than anything in the subplot about an affair between Imogen Poots (the 20-something daughter of Hoffman/Keener) and Mark Ivanir (the 40-something first violinist in the quartet).
Walken will likely be nominated for “A Late Quartet,” but that’s not enough to get me to recommend it to you.