Title – Pavarotti (2019)
Director – Ron Howard (Rush)
Cast – Luciano Pavarotti, Plácido Domingo, Bono, Josep Carreras, Harvey Goldsmith
Plot – A documentation of the life of famed opera singer and entertainer Luciano Pavarotti.
“If he asked for chicken’s milk, they would have probably milked a chicken”
Review by Eddie on 17/04/2020
It’s highly unlikely that in our lifetime we will ever see another Luciano Pavarotti.
A man whose voice was beloved across the world and a man whose image was instantly recognisable for many, a rare achievement for a modern day opera singer, Pavarotti was that rare breed of human being that managed to share an incredible gift with millions upon millions of admirers and if this Ron Howard documentary does one thing unquestionably well, it’s that it reminds us all of the privilege it was to get to witness this talent be shared with the masses.
As a documentary, Pavarotti pales in comparison to other recent examinations of famous figures such as Amy, Diego Maradona or Whiteny and continues on a trend for Howard to direct films in a solid fashion without ever trying to push the boundaries or his abilities but it’s a workmanlike effort that is hard to not enjoy as we witness the young Luciano ply his trade from simple beginnings in his home country, right through to his defining stints in the 3 Tenors or his highly sought after live shows.
What we see throughout and what we hear about from those that knew Luciano best, is that Pavarotti was a fiercely determined man, one that was hell-bent on ensuring he never once took his gift for granted as he set about improving his workmanship in the field right through to his later years.
There’s a power in watching Pavarotti perform and Howard’s extensive access to archival footage and previously unseen home video footage helps create perhaps not the quintessential hard look exploration of his life, but an inside look into what a one in a billion talent looks like.
Despite the fact we are often watching decades old clips of performances or interviews there is also a clear and definable charm and showmanship that Pavarotti possessed.
As he walks into a room full of people, talking to students at a masterclass or simply sitting one on one with an interviewer, he was a consistently open and honest figure who at the very core of his being was nothing more than a devilishly charming rogue that faced many of the similar fears and worries we everyday people had, even though he had to be on top of them frequently to be able to deliver on the name and magic that he built his life around.
It’s not the warts and all experience some documentarians would’ve gone for, but as a piece of fan service and carefully put together reminder of the genius that was, Pavarotti does its job without ever attempting to over work itself.
Final Say –
For long term fans and those that might simply need a showcase for the amazing voice that was Pavarotti, Howard’s documentary will provide exactly what keen viewers will be seeking and while it never threatens to become a grand documentation, Pavarotti is a finely tuned ode to one of the modern era’s great entertainers and popular figures.
3 ½ handkerchiefs out of 5