The Song of Names

The Song of Names. (Photo: Sony Pictures Classic/Supplied)
The Song of Names. (Photo: Sony Pictures Classic/Supplied)


3/5 stars 


Several years after his childhood friend, a violin prodigy, disappears on the eve of his first solo concert, an Englishman travels throughout Europe to find him.


Many times before, war has been used as a backdrop to highlight the fragility of being human.

It has been used in film to show how acts out of our control can change the trajectory of our lives significantly.

When such dramatic events alter the course of our lives, we're forever left wondering what could have been.

When the ruthlessness of war is juxtaposed with the tenderness of classical music, the contrast becomes even more prevalent and highlights, nearly effortlessly, how cruel humanity can be - but also how compassionate.

In The Song of Names, executive produced by iconic South African filmmaker Anant Singh, we find the two worlds meeting again in a different setting. There are so many stories of war and how it has destroyed so many lives, that it will forever be part of our storytelling long after none of us are even left to tell the stories ourselves. 

The film, an adaptation of the novel of the same name by Norman Lebrecht, which stars Tim Roth (as Martin Simmonds) and Clive Owen (as Dovidl Rapoport), might be a fictional tale, but that doesn't make it any less real.

Through brilliant acting and a hauntingly beautiful musical score composed by Howard Shore (The Lord of the Rings, The Silence of the Lambs, The Aviator) the film flows with determination from one timeline to the next – it doesn't waste time getting where it needs to be. 

Unlike Sam Mendes' 1917 or Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk, we don't see the actual acts of war but rather the consequences and after effects, even many years later. 

A more fitting recent comparison would be James Kent's The Aftermath, starring Keira Knightley, in which the focus is much more on the human connection than the physical destruction, all with music as the key to unlocking the story. 

Although it, admittedly, falls just short of reaching the same level of prestige filmmaking, it's nonetheless a well-told story about family, religion, and the power that music has in bringing us together – even if we're miles apart. 

Exactly what we need right now. 


Watch The Song of Names on Showmax now

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