Don Reviews "Chevalier"
If you are a follow of our show, you know love I have with the orchestra (and especially the viola). One of the greatest musicians in history is Mozart, and you may be surprised to know that died a very poor man and was buried in a mass potters grave, along with other indigent people in an unknown location. He lived in a time when he allegedly had an on-stage run in with Joseph Bologne, and that is how Chevalier begins.
Stephen Williams (Watchmen) directs this film that focuses on Bologne (Kelvin Harrison, Jr.), who is the child of an affair between a slave and a plantation owner, which gets him taken away to grow up at a private boarding school in Paris. He shows tremendous ability both athletically and musically, and he rises to become one of the most well-known composers in the known world, even catching the attention of an aging aria (Minnie Driver) and the queen herself, Marie Antoinette (Lucy Boynton). When one of the most prestigious honors becomes available to lead the Paris Opera House, the now titled Chevalier de Saint-Georges competes, finding out the competition is more layered than he may realize.
One thing I loved about this film is it is great period piece, capturing 1700s France almost perfectly. Even more impressive for me is that it was actually shot in Prague, which doubled for Paris very well, down to the details of the theaters and how they were decorated. The costumes are also very well done to the point where I would not be surprised to see it recognized during awards season. In a time where films like this tend to run long, this one clocks in under two hours and does so with good pacing.
I have no complaints when it comes to the cast with Harrison, Jr. standing out portraying Bologne’s confidence and ability well. Given this, I do wonder how much liberty (no pun intended) was taken with the story itself. It seems like some of the things he said and did given his background would have him arrested and probably worse at this time in history, but it did not take away from my enjoyment of Chevalier, and if this type of film is your cup of tea, I would definitely recommend seeing it as a DVD rental.