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Originally published Thursday, August 5, 2010 at 3:04 PM

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Movie review

'The Concert': A slow start, a moving crescendo

A review of Romanian filmmaker Radu Mihaileanu's "The Concert" — which gets off to a slow start, but builds to a profound climax.

Seattle Times movie critic

Movie review 3 stars

'The Concert,' with Alexei Guskov, Dmitry Nazarov, Melanie Laurent, François Berleand, Miou Miou. Written and directed by Radu Mihaileanu. 107 minutes. Rated PG-13 for brief strong language and some sexual content. Harvard Exit.

To say that Romanian filmmaker Radu Mihaileanu's comedy/drama "The Concert" gets better as it goes along is not quite accurate; it's as if the movie simmers unevenly for an hour and a half, and suddenly bursts into glorious flame. In it, a former Bolshoi Orchestra conductor (Alexei Guskov) pulls off an elaborate deception so that he can achieve his dream of leading the orchestra once more. For much of its running time, "The Concert" feels overlong, its tone bumpy, its minor characters too often buffoonish and silly.

And yet, in its last 15 minutes, it's transcendent — thanks to a beautifully edited sequence featuring Tchaikovsky's soaring Concerto for Violin and Orchestra and a lovely performance by Melanie Laurent (who seems, in this film, to radiate light). You find that you were rooting for "The Concert" and its characters all along, and you leave the theater thrilled and moved by the power of music. And, like me, you just might tear up a bit. Stick with this movie, which was an audience favorite at the Seattle International Film Festival this year — it's well worth the wait.

Moira Macdonald: 206-464-2725 or

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