Toby Sebastian - The Music Of Silence (Andrea Bocelli)

Despite its strong cast performances, THE MUSIC OF SILENCE ultimately falls short of getting under the skin of living legend Andrea Bocelli

Whether you’re an Opera fan or not, chances are you’ve heard of Andrea Bocelli. The internationally renowned tenor has been entertaining audiences all over the world with his astounding voice for 25 years, selling more than 20 million records worldwide, filling stadiums galore and bringing joy to the masses. But life hasn’t always been easy for the music legend as biopic THE MUSIC OF SILENCE demonstrates.

Based on Bocelli’s bestselling autobiography, THE MUSIC OF SILENCE tells the story of a young boy, Amos Bardi, who is born with a serious eye condition and gifted with a superb voice. Separated from his family to attend an institute for the visually impaired, a terrible accident occurs resulting in a complete loss of sight. Despite being told that he will never be a serious opera singer, Amos is driven by great ambition and with the help of his maestro (Antonio Banderas) overcomes every obstacle and achieves his first great success on stage.

On first glance, there is plenty to like about THE MUSIC OF SILENCE. Following a chronological timeline from birth onwards, this heart-warming and inspirational tale has a compelling story at its heart and Toby Sebastian gives an outstanding performance as Amos (Bocelli), as does Antonio Banderas as his teacher. Michael Radford’s direction also provides some beautifully-shot set pieces as well as some stunning sweeping backdrops of the Italian countryside. Yet despites its best intentions, the film ultimately falls short of getting under the skin of the man we’ve all come to know and love.

The biggest issue with THE MUSIC OF SILENCE is that Bocelli feels surprisingly distant from the story. Those familiar with Bocelli’s autobiography will know that in his book, Bocelli tells his story via his alter ego Amos Bardi and the film does the same. Yet, there is a feeling here that Bocelli is distancing himself from the character. We expect to Bocelli here and even the absent of his name feels odds. This is further enhanced by Bocelli’s “special guest appearance” at the start and the end of the film.

Toby Sebastian & Antonio Banderas - The Music Of Silence

Another issue is the way in which the original text has been translated from Italian into English. We know that screenwriters Anna Pavignano and Radford (both of whom were nominated for an Oscar for IL POSTINO) are more than capable of crafting engaging and thoughtful dialogue but here, the dialogue feels stale and unnatural. The decision to write the film in English is obviously to reach a wider audience but phrases, sayings and words never really fully translate properly across languages and culture, resulting in a blunt unnatural dialogue which makes the film loose some of its sincerity.

Thankfully, the performances go some way to neutralising these issues, the best of the coming from Toby Sebastian as Amos and his relationship with his maestro, played by Antonio Banderas. Driving the story forward, the maestro serves as the Amos guide and Banderas does what he can to bring charm and charisma to his character.

Of course, the film also features an astounding soundtrack, giving the audience the opportunity to hear some of Bocelli’s earlier, unreleased original songs. The best, however, is kept until last, the film ending with a compilation of pictures and videos of Andrea Bocelli through the years and a stunning recording of his most beloved work.

While THE MUSIC OF SILENCE ultimately lacks the emotional weight to make this story truly stand out from the crowd, the acting and creative talent involved in this project deliver enough to make THE MUSIC OF SILENCE a passable biopic of a living legend.

3 out of 5 stars

THE MUSIC OF SILENCE is released on DVD and digital download on 29 October 2018