The Sonata review: The late Rutger Hauer appears in one of his final roles as an obsessed composer in Gothic ghost story The Sonata.
Rose (Freya Tingley) is a determined and driven young violinist. Whilst hard at work on her latest album, she receives news that her long-absent father (Rutger Hauer) has passed away leaving all his worldly possessions to her, including his chateau in rural France. Having distanced herself from him, despite him being a world-renown composer, Rose wants none of her inheritance. Wanting to sell as quickly as possible so that she can get back to recording, Rose takes a trip to the house. Once there, she discovers a sonata that was her father’s life work, which may or may not have supernatural abilities.
The film stars the late Rutger Hauer as Rose’s deceased father Richard Marlowe. Marlowe has been working on a sonata, but not any old sonata, this one is made to seduce the Antichrist. Hauer appears through a combination of stock footage, paintings, and audio recordings, and despite not having much screen time, makes his presence known. It is Freya Tingley who carries The Sonata as Rose, however, who is the quintessential English Rose. She’s a resilient and driven young woman, and even as the weird and spooky unveils itself to her, she maintains her dignity. Rose isn’t your traditional weepy, wailing lead, she’s far too practical for that.
The Sonata is the debut feature from France-based UK director Andrew Desmond. It’s a film that fully embraces its multiculturalism. It takes place in both London and France (in English and French), the two countries contrasting heavily with one another. London is the hustle and bustle capital city that we’re used to seeing, and the chateau is rural, remote, and most importantly quiet. These moments of quiet help create atmosphere. All chateau’s are pretty creepy, but placing Rose alone in the vast space with no familiar and comforting sounds of other people, highlights how sinister silence can be. There are some strong autumnal colour that re-enforce the country setting as well as plenty of blues that highlight the cold and greens that ramp-up the eerie feelings.
The Sonata is a true Gothic ghost story through and through. It doesn’t reinvent the wheel, going through all the expected motions, but it is a well put together film with some nice flourishes.
The Sonata was reviewed at Arrow Video Frightfest 2019.