Tim Roth, probably one of the most overlooked actors in Hollywood today, stars as the title character in "The Legend of 1900," an elegant movie about a young man named 1900 - yes, that's his name - who has lived his entire life on a cruise ship.
Pruitt Taylor Vince (the twitchy-eyed chubby guy found in many supporting roles) co-stars as Max, a trumpeter who returns to the grand ship days before it is to be destroyed to search for his old friend who he believes is still on board. 1900 was abandoned at the turn of the century and raised by one of the many engineers on the ship and eventually became one of the best pianists in the world. Though the idea that his adoptive father never took him onto land (didn't his father ever get off the boat?) is a bit farfetched, the concept is a means to an end, and the result is more than sufficient. Filled with beautiful piano music and a nice story, "The Legend of 1900" is one of those films that few have heard of but many should see.
Both Roth and Vince deliver great performances, but the real star is the music, which drives pretty much every scene. The emotions of 1900 are tied to the ship and expressed through his music, and the movie is in many ways a musical without singing.
The best scene in the film is the piano competition, where the world's leading jazz artist challenges 1900 to a duel. The scene is tense, incredible and ultimately satisfying, which exemplifies the movie as a whole.
"The Legend of 1900" isn't overpowering nor does it try to be anything great, but it isn't as simple as it seems and in the end proves to be one of the year's best.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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