“The world doesn’t need another Beethoven!” barks Ed Harris’ truculent composer in Agnieszka Holland’s biopic, a statement that pretty much sums up this dreary stab at putting flesh on his decomposing bones. Set some years after the events of Immortal Beloved and Eroica, Holland’s film sees Ludwig as a deaf old git forced to depend on Diane Kruger’s gifted copyist if he’s to finish his legendary Ninth Symphony. The more she scribbles, however, the closer they become, much to the chagrin of her architect boyfriend (Matthew Goode), Viennese society and, one suspects, classical music purists everywhere. It’s all baloney of course – though that doesn’t prevent Harris producing a Pollock-sized performance as the tortured genius. Like the wrinkled buttocks he flashes at Kruger, however, this portrait of the artist could use some tightening up.
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