“The Music of Silence” is a biopic about a someone we’ll call “Amos Bardi” because it is a “good Tuscan name” according to a man who is typing on a laptop. We’re backstage with a face you might or might not be familiar with (Trystane Martell in “Game of Thrones”), but when this man goes on stage and when he begins singing, you’ll recognize the beautiful tones.
This movie is inspired by the life of Andrea Bocelli, a man who became famous by singing opera without being an opera star due to his blindness. Yet Michael Radford’s “The Music of Silence” is an uninspired, with, most unforgivably, a lackluster soundtrack for a film about a man of music.
In case you don’t know who Bocelli is, he’s sold over 80 million records worldwide and performed for presidents, popes and royalty. He wrote a memoir that was published in 1999, “La musica del silenzio,” from which the movie derives its title.
Radford is best known for the 1994 “Il Postino,” the 1984 version of “1984” and Al Pacino’s performance as Shylock in the 2004 “The Merchant of Venice.” Radford co-wrote the script with Anna Pavignano (“Elsa & Fred”) in collaboration with Bocelli.
From the beginning with a silver-haired Bocelli (Toby Sebastian) preparing to go on stage, the film flashes back to the very beginning (1958) in Tuscany in color. Bocelli’s father is excited when his first child, a son is born, but there is something wrong. That problem continues to worsen until eventually the boy, here called Amos is totally blind at age 12, but determined not to fall into the usual occupations of blind people.
Amos sings, he learns about law and love. The title takes its name from the lessons he learns from the Maestro (Antonio Banderas). The voice of an opera singer is a rare and previous instrument. Talking unnecessarily wears on that instrument. Silence is a necessary part of singing.
The Maestro tells him that he will be a real singer “when you learn how not to need words and the “music of silence will be the guide to the interior of yourself.”
Yet getting to his young adulthood follows a boring and often stagnantly staged childhood. The best part of the first half is the kitchen’s set design and Tuscany and yet isn’t quite enough.
“The Music of Silence” doesn’t go past Bocelli’s first marriage although the script hints upon the coming friction within the marriage as Bocelli becomes the object of affection of starstruck women.
At the end, when we’ve returned to the present, a quote from Bocelli provides the wrap up: “The secret is never lose faith, to have confidence in God’s plan for us, revealed in the signs with which He shows us the way. If you learn to listen, you will find that each life speaks to us of love. Because love is the key to everything, the engine of the world.”
Bocelli has a beautiful voice and his life story is inspiring, but this film is not. Bocelli fans might be intrigued because the film does feature songs that Bocelli composed when he was young that have never been released. “The Music of Silence” opens in theaters and VOD on 2 February 2018.