After seeing Shine, I'm all for taking liberties with true stories. Following subjection to an overbearing father,Rachmaninoff's 3rd piano concerto and some unfortunate electroshock therapy, pianist David Helfgott (Geoffrey Rush) turns into a walking fast-forwarding tape recorder. He's nearly impossible to understand. I say forego reality, give the guy a funny walk or a twitching eye, have him urinate uncontrollably every time someone says the word "scherzando" and grant the audience at least some chance of understanding the movie.
I suspect director Scott Hicks anticipated audiences' frustration with Helfgott's speech, so he threw them a bone by repeating the film's opening scene. By now everybody is familiar with this technique: The director opens with a scene that doesn't make much sense, then goes back in time to an earlier point in the story and works his way back to the opening scene. When you've come full circle, you're supposed to think, "Wow, I understand everything now," as opposed to, "Thanks for wasting the first ten minutes with stuff you were going to show me again anyway, you bastard."
"Shine" is further saddled with the crushing boredom that is classical music. Even if you appreciate the stuff, there are certain to be a few teenagers in the theater talking audibly about how, compared to the latest Weezer album, Rachmaninoff really bites.
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