"The Concert" Review: Like Stereotypes? Then You'll Love This

Beyond fans of Mélanie Laurent — who furiously fingers a fiddle and wears flashback wigs — The Concert may appeal to those who delight in stereotypes (Jews like money!). Andrei Filipov (Aleksei Guskov) pushes a broom at the Bolshoi, where he lost his status as star conductor 30 years ago under Brezhnev for refusing to fire his Jewish musicians. Intercepting a fax from the Théâtre du Châtelet inviting the legendary orchestra to perform in Paris, Andrei rounds up his former colleagues in a scheme to pass themselves off as the real Bolshoi. To right an injustice from three decades ago — and to occasion more interminable flashbacks — the fallen maestro insists that violinist Anne-Marie Jacquet (Laurent) be the soloist during the performance of Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto. The emotional climax: Smeary mascara runs down the cheeks of Miou-Miou, playing Anne-Marie's manager and a link to her past. Witless director Radu Mihaileanu, continuing the theme of false identity from his previous Live and Become (2005), holds the following truths to be self-evident: Nothing is funnier than a Russian speaking syntactically absurd French (except maybe a half-empty Communist meeting hall). And nothing salves historical and ego wounds quite like 12 minutes of bombastic strings.

 
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