When Thomas Seyr enters the hall for his big audition in Jacques Audiard’s ‘The Beat That My Heart Skipped’ someone on stage is playing what sounds like Gunther Schuller’s fusion of jazz and classical music. Amazingly, in light of the fact that I had just been listening to Cecil Taylor, it sounds like him crossed with Bach.
I’m flabbergasted by the coincidence.
Then I realise that the Cecil Taylor album I had been listening to on the computer minutes earlier had resumed playing, thus merging with the film.
On the DVD case the FT quote calls it ‘A raging gangster film’ although it isn’t that at all. The producers no doubt thought that would attract a lot more (male) buyers than: ‘A film about the one man’s struggle to reconcile his artistic ambition with the lure of life as a morally dubious property dealer’.
Romain Duris is terrific as the troubled soul seeking to put his bruised knuckles to better use as a concert pianist rather than busting squatters’ heads. He’s full of nervous energy; wired into techno when he’s not studying Bach as he walks the fine line between integrity and corruption.
There’s no neat conclusion to this. Seyr enters the auditorium in the final scene splattered in blood; as if no matter how hard he tries his past will always stain his future.