Paganini Biopic Draws Cool Response in Germany (Video)

Sunday, November 10, 2013 - 06:45 PM

David Garrett as Niccolò Paganini in 'The Devil's Violinist' David Garrett as Niccolò Paganini in 'The Devil's Violinist'

"The Devil's Violinist," a new biopic starring the violinist David Garrett as Niccolò Paganini, has drawn some devilishly negative reviews from German newspapers since its opening a week ago.

The film, which debuted in Germany and Austria on October 31, is set in 1830 and tells the story of the famous Italian fiddler's London debut. It stars Garrett, a German crossover violinist who studied at Juilliard with Itzhak Perlman. Although Garrett has extensive pop-music credentials and has worked as a fashion model, this is his first feature film. The director is Bernard Rose, whose credits include the 1994 Beethoven biopic "Immortal Beloved."

The Berliner Morgenpost's Peter Zander wrote that that the combination of talent looked good on paper but the script lacks humor and the acting is wooden. "Every scene is a failure," wrote Zander. "No facial expressions. No gestures. No sense of how to speak dialogue properly."

Die Welt was similarly blunt with the appraisal, "Garrett has no charisma, he cannot act, you do not even like to look at him." Sueddeutsche was more measured in its critique, complementing the "gorgeous" music but questioning the portrayal of Paganini as a kind of louche superhero.

Paganini was considered a rock star of his day, a notorious womanizer who drew massive audiences throughout Europe and, legend has it, sold his soul to the devil. He also wrote many virtuoso works for the violin which remain repertoire staples.

"The Devil's Violinist" opened in seventh place at the German box office last week, bringing in $798,612. A release in the U.S. has not been announced, though the production company, Film House Germany, has released an English-language trailer. Have a look and tell us what you think:

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Comments [5]

bill richards from Toronto, Ontario

I loved this film. I completely disagree with this review. I felt the deep pain of Paganini and the love he lost.

I dont get you reviewers. Feel the film for g-d sakes.

Apr. 10 2014 01:41 AM
Elna from Pennsylvania

Well, Jared Harris seems to be enjoying his role!

Nov. 16 2013 12:10 PM
bruce K from chicago

Maybe they can reuse the sets and costumes for an adaptation of a Dickens, Austen or Elliot novel since almost no one is going to see this piece of crap

Nov. 11 2013 12:24 PM
Christa from Houston, Texas

I would still love to see the movie in the German language. Garrett is a master on the violin, and it would be my pleasure just to hear him play Paganini's music.

Nov. 11 2013 10:19 AM
Gev Sweeney from Ocean Grove, New Jersey

Sitting through the trailer was the closest to self-flagellation that I care to get ...

Nov. 11 2013 08:11 AM

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