Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Retro Review: Shine (1996)


                                      
                                      A Minorly Flawed Biopic That Still 'Shines' Through
                   
                       Even though Shine was a few minor problems, it definitely doesn't shy away from the fact that it is very well-done and it shines pretty bright. (pun intended).
                        
                           Story:
                       Shine is based on a true story about a pianist named David Helfgott (Geoffrey Rush) who years ago suffered a mental breakdown after being pressured by his dominating father (Armin Mueller-Stahl) and his teachers. Years later, he is institutionalized and after he is released, he returns to the piano and begins to receive critical acclaim.

                          What I Liked About It:
                      One thing that I did like about the film was the acting. Geoffrey Rush does fine work as the adult version of David Helfgott, even though he is on screen for about 35-40 minutes. Noah Taylor, who plays the teenage version of Helfgott, does an outstanding job and even when he is not speaking, he is able to make you understand the pain and pressure that he is going through. Another actor that stands out in particular is Armin Mueller-Stahl. He is fantastic as Helfgott's abusive father who has no tolerance for failure and losing. Mueller-Stahl pulls off a performance that is both compassionate yet fearful as he is both supportive of his son yet once his son has opportunities to study abroad and leave his family, he snaps.

                     Another thing that I liked was how because it has different storylines that focus on the adult and younger versions of Helfgott, it didn't keep jumping back and forth from one storyline to the next. It took its time with each story and allowed them to transition smoothly and I liked that a lot. In fact, what surprised me was how it was more focused on the storyline involving the younger version of David Helfgott because of how the trailer made it seem that it would focus more on the adult version of Helfgott. Not that there's anything wrong with it.

                        What I Didn't Like About It:
                     Now, one thing that I didn't like about the film was how rushed the finale was. Towards the end, David meets his future wife and to me, they just rushed their romance and even the final scene where David performs piano was pretty rushed.

                        Consensus:
                     Overall, Shine is a wonderfully-done biopic that features incredible performances from Geoffrey Rush, Noah Taylor, and Armin-Mueller Stahl. I may have a few minor gripes involving the film's ending but it definitely doesn't ruin the entirety of the film.

Rating: 3/5