Monday 26 August 2019

Pavarotti review: 'The uninitiated who are looking for a good yarn may be left wanting'

3 stars


Tanya Sweeney

In a rather incongruous pairing, one of Hollywood’s most eminent storytellers Ron Howard turns his lens to the life and loves of legendary opera singer Luciano Pavarotti.

Here, he’s tasked with putting some flesh on the story of the Italian tenor, best known for his spine-tingling performances of Nessun Dorma.

Hardcore fans might not find anything new to chew on here, but everyone else is brought up to speed on Pavarotti’s unending humanity, his charitable causes, his magnetic charm, his technical virtuosity, his occasionally wandering eye, and his appetite for pasta.

Even Bono shows up to note that Pavarotti was a cheeky so-and-so who wouldn’t take no for an answer when he approached him about recording a charity single.

Where some documentaries widen the appeal of their subject beyond their immediate cohort of fans (think Asif Kapadia’s cinematically bold Senna, or Kevin Macdonald’s creative storytelling in Marley), Howard has stuck to more hagiographic territory.

Plenty for fans to enjoy here, but the uninitiated who are looking for a good yarn may be left wanting.

(12A, Entertainment One, 114 mins)

Irish Independent

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