Tim Roth and Clive Owen star in an emotional detective story spread over two continents and a half century. Beneath the film’s stunning and pulsing musical revelations burn the horror of a war and the lost souls extinguished from history.
What We Thought:
The Song Of Names is based on a book, but I’m not sure if the book is based on a true story. I can see it being true, but I couldn’t figure it out. Clive Owen and Tim Roth star in the film which is about a violin prodigy who disappears and decades later is found. Owen plays the adult version of the violinist with Roth as the man who finds him.
It jumps around in time first starting during World War II. Dovidl, is a young Jewish boy from Poland who goes to England because he’s a prodigy. At first Martin, a boy of similar age, isn’t happy he’s moving into his family’s home, but eventually they become friends. As they age, Dovidl’s violin playing could open some doors for him and Martin’s family sets up a prestigious performance for him in post-war time. He doesn’t make the performance and Martin decades later finds Dovidl to find out why he didn’t show up.
Roth and Owen are given the biggest credits with their faces appearing the biggest on the Blu-ray cover, but it’s really not their film. I’d say Owen has less than 20 minutes of total screentime. Roth gets a bit more because when it’s in its most recent timeline, he’s on screen a lot with his wife and others trying to find Owen’s character.
To me the film is definitely carried by the younger actors. The 2 main characters have different actors (besides Roth & Owen) during different timelines. There’s the WWII era with the boys around 13 years old. There’s the post-war era when Dovidl is starting to become an accomplished musician. I thought the actors during the teen years were pretty great. It’s obviously super heavy material, but both teen actors were good and carry the film.
The Song Of Names isn’t something I’d necessarily watch again, but it’s good. It has great production value and obviously the music production is fantastic. I expected more from the two “leads” especially Clive Owen, but the younger actors certainly hold their own. I knew nothing about the film or the book it’s based on prior to watching it and yes it’s heavy subject matter, but it was still a pretty good watch.
- Behind the Song of Names: Director François Girard and Producer Robert Lantos brought Norman Lebrecht’s acclaimed novel to life with the outstanding performances of Tim Roth and Clive Owen.
- Howard Shore: Composing & Scoring: After two years of research, composer Howard Shore conducts and records the score for THE SONG OF NAMES in Montreal.
- Howard Shore & Ray Chen: Composer Howard Shore chose virtuoso Ray Chen for the incredible violin playing heard in THE SONG OF NAMES.