Mark Reviews Movies


3 Stars (out of 4)

Director: Fredi M. Murer

Cast: Teo Gheorghiu, Fabrizio Borsani, Julika Jenkins, Urs Jucker, Bruno Ganz

MPAA Rating:  (for mild thematic elements and language)

Running Time: 2:03

Release Date: 6/29/07 (limited)

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Capsule review by Mark Dujsik

It's rare that my brain and gut get into a battle as much as they did while watching Vitus. This is a film that I alternately wanted to slap and hug the majority of the characters. It tells the story of the titular young musical prodigy (Fabrizio Borsani at age six and Teo Gheorghiu at 12) who's pushed by his stage mother (Julika Jenkins), ignored by his business-oriented father (Urs Jucker), and embraced by his grandfather (Bruno Ganz). The film follows the typical structure of such a tale, but it's solidified—oddly enough—by Vitus' unorthodox resistance to fit into the mold established by his parents and teachers and his shaky move away from the life of a prodigy while still fitting firmly into it. By the end of the film, he's faked a head injury to make himself seem normal, set up an insider trading scam, and rented out an office so he can practice the piano where no one will realize. Vitus is a spoiled brat, no doubt, but his problems stem from his home life, making them more forgivable. The selfish parents get off way too easy (in the final scene, they make Vitus' musical accomplishment all about them), but the performances here are likeable enough to forgive the script its faulty assumption we'll inherently like these people (the final scene, which should be infuriating, as a result, is kind of affecting). Only the grandfather has a level head, and his influence over the boy also make Fredi M. Murer's story of genius gone awry and finding its way to relative normalcy an instance where the gut wins out over the brain.

Copyright © 2008 by Mark Dujsik. All rights reserved.

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