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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 28.26%
Average: 15.22%
Pretty Bad: 15.22%
Total Crap: 4.35%

3 reviews, 28 user ratings

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Legend of 1900, The
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by iF Magazine

"Roth isn't good enough to keep this ship afloat."
2 stars

Journalist (to his guest): Do you know Tim Roth? Guest: Uh...I've heard the name before... (struggling)... uh... Journalist (helping): PULP FICTION... ROB ROY... ? Guest: Oh, Okay. He's in this? Surprisingly yes. Tim Roth, who like many theatrical 'artists', balances mainstream with arthouse allowing himself to make a mark for himself as an actor while paying the bills at the same time. THE LEGEND OF 1900 is his latest 'arthouse' project. Only LEGEND is less artistic and more manufactured pretentiousness.

Director Giuseppe Tornatore (Academy-award winning CINEMA PARADISO), who also wrote LEGEND based on a dramatic monologue by Italian novelist Alessandro Barico, over-dramatizes a story of a man who's lived his entire life on a ship - The Victorian.

Little Nineteen Hundred (named after the year he was born) is orphaned on a ship and raised there by a ship worker who dies abruptly before little Nineteen turns 10. Supposedly Nineteen goes into hiding for fear of being thrown off the ship and straight into an orphanage, though we see Nineteen running around the ship and even giving a pianist solo to a large group of ship passengers. All grown up and now in the body of Roth, Nineteen makes a life-long friend (Pruitt Taylor Vince - twitchy eyed and very distracted) out of a drifter who plays one hell of a triumphant and in doing so becomes part of the ship's orchestra which highlights Nineteen.

And that's pretty much it. Always keeping his characters distant and withdrawn Tornatore drags LEGEND's limber feet for over two hours in dull-drone blandness helped along only by the beautiful and triumphant score of Ennio Morricone. Tornatore mistakes intrigue and excitement with complacent drama. A presumed spotlight of LEGEND is a piano contest between the 'founder' of jazz (Clarence Williams III) and Nineteen. Roth, more smooth and subtle than before plays it cool through the competition. But instead of letting the scene play itself out Tornatore chooses to dizzyingly overemphasize every move each of them make. And in turn slowing down the progression of the event and inevitably crushing any momentum or intrigue the moment may have carried with it.

Always an accountable actor, Roth is compelling to watch but not for the mastery of words he's about to utter from THE LEGEND OF 1900 script but rather to see what will he do with such a lack of material and character. He does his best but that's not good enough to keep this ship afloat. - Pamela Harland - iF Magazine -

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originally posted: 11/23/99 22:03:20
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User Comments

9/03/10 Mohammad Masterpiece 5 stars
10/22/08 Doubleshot464 The music was wonderful; a nice two hours spent on a cold and rainy fall afternoon. 4 stars
5/11/07 Tommy bozes comment made me laugh my ass off 3 stars
1/02/07 Jessica I LOVED TIM ROTH! GREAT MUSIC and the acting is INCREDIBLE! 5 stars
11/09/06 Jason Creative and gives meaning to a movie! 5 stars
10/25/06 jay one of the best films ever made cinematography-wise! 5 stars
10/15/06 Dimitris It was a good movie, and the piano contest scene was awsome 4 stars
7/03/06 J Breiner I loved it! What a twist to a storyline. 5 stars
2/04/06 jenn Awesome movie!the dwarf and jeane are stupid and would know a good film if it slapped them! 5 stars
1/29/05 Darryl Entertaining film with excellent piano playing! Ending is jacked up though. 4 stars
7/29/04 psychotic black dwarf Humorless, lacks irony, eye-rolling pathos, generally nauseating despite good score. 2 stars
6/22/04 kiel 3ya would like to have a copy of the movie 5 stars
4/06/04 Jeanne What a bloody, irritating mess. I cared NADA. 1 stars
9/11/03 Jonathan West , age 16 One of the best movies I have ever seen , I seen it 10-20 time and it gets better ever time 5 stars
5/24/03 Bloody Vixen Hated the ending, made me cry... 5 stars
3/22/03 R.W. Welch Fanciful yarn of shipboard Mozart has a certain mystique about it. 4 stars
12/25/02 Joe Christensen One of the best films i have seen in a long time,watched it twice in a row 5 stars
10/31/02 jazzy a very impressive movie! 5 stars
8/19/02 Tom Wish there were more scenes of the great piano playing and less of slow moving "drama". 4 stars
1/24/02 iulian solcan simply beautiful 5 stars
11/16/01 Pat DC magic-realistic fable 5 stars
7/30/01 MLS This is one of the most beautiful movies I've seen, now one of my favorites! Wonderful! 5 stars
4/17/01 Jane McArthur Well, I loved it. The music, cinematography and acting were simply wonderful. 5 stars
11/15/00 salvo toscano Quite good, but too "american" for european taste 4 stars
1/19/00 Antony Enjoyed it 4 stars
1/05/00 Charlene Miller My favorite movie of 1999 5 stars
10/29/99 Bozo The longest two hours of my entire life was spent w/this CRAPPY movie 1 stars
10/27/99 pipeman A wonderful story--well told and well acted. Beautifully photographed. Don't miss it. 5 stars
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  29-Oct-1999 (R)


  01-Jun-2000 (M)

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