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|Laufzeit:||Ca. 122 Min|
|FSK:||From 6 years|
His violin playing was so virtuoso that he was accused of diabolical powers and his appearance was so attractive that the female world lay at his feet. Niccolò Paganini, also called the "Devil's Violinist", was already a legend during his lifetime. And even today, the violinist and composer is regarded as one of the greats of his profession. A good reason, then, to set a cinematic monument to him. The director Bernard Rose, who had already appeared in "Ludwig Van B.", has now taken care of this. - my "immortal lover" with a musical genius. For Rose it was clear that he didn't want to hire an actor for the role of the devil's violinist who only pretended to be able to play the violin. Instead, he preferred a violinist with great skill and charisma, who, if possible, should also have some acting talent.
The choice fell on David Garrett, the rock star among the violinists, who seemed almost predestined for this role. Garrett embodies the virtuoso at the height of his career. Throughout Europe he is celebrated and loved by women and his person has become a real myth that fascinates and fills concert halls. Only in London has Paganini not yet performed. The British impresario John Watson (Christian McKay) wants to change this in the year 1830 in any case. He risks all his fortune and reputation to win Paganini for a guest appearance in London. But Paganini's clever manager Urbani (Jared Harris) keeps stalling Watson longer and longer. He lets his protégé collect advance payments, but the virtuoso is far from thinking of a trip to London. Just as Watson and his family are on the brink of extinction, the tide turns: Paganini and Urbani come to London. Despite loud protests from women's rights activists who see Paganini as the spawn of a sexist, Paganini's guest appearance seems to be the great success Watson had hoped for. But when the violinist falls in love with Watson's beautiful daughter Charlotte (Andrea Deck) and Urbani sees his influence on Paganini diminish through her, the Blatt…
"Der Teufelsgeiger" is an ambitious work, there's no question about it. Bernard Rose combines aspects of Paganini's biography with motifs from "Faust" to create a mixture of biopic, romantic drama and mystical historical film, which scores with a harmonious setting and Paganini's rousing music. David Garrett is obviously anxious to master his first leading role convincingly, but he doesn't really get much opportunity to do so. If he does not play the violin, his role is limited primarily to suffering from world-weariness with his hair hanging in his face, or to complaining about people who do not understand his talent. Garrett can't show any real complexity just because of the script, which unfortunately leads to the fact that his playing is only full of life when he picks up the violin.
Also the otherwise very reliable Jared Harris can't show his best side here. His portrayal of the diabolical Urbani is far too theatrical, too artificial to really convince. Only Andrea Deck leaves a really positive impression, not only vocally making a convincing debut here. But the actors must not be reproached in themselves. The fact that their game just doesn't work is primarily due to the script and the direction, which seems hopelessly overwhelmed with the material. It becomes clear again and again where Bernard Rose's ambitions went, with what passion he went to business here. However, the finished movie simply lacks soul, emotional tension and characters, that you are really interested in as a viewer.
Really bad is "The Devil's Violinist" still a long way from that. There are many scenes that work well on their own and numerous show values that are intensified by the music. But the movie simply can't offer more than nice, somewhat trivial entertainment. Those who expect a film biography based on facts about Paganini will be just as disappointed as lovers of the great romantic cinema. "The Devil's Violinist" is neither fish nor meat - and therefore only conditionally worth seeing!
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