The Soloist - Wright's got it wrong
PUBLISHED: 15:47 25 September 2009 | UPDATED: 14:42 24 August 2010
The Soloist www.thesoloistmovie.co.uk Two stars By Emerson Forde WHAT to make of a film that was scheduled for release more than a year ago and only now making its way into cinemas. Usually it s a cas
By Emerson Forde
WHAT to make of a film that was scheduled for release more than a year ago and only now making its way into cinemas.
Usually it's a case that it's terrible and the studio wants shot of it.
The Soloist is based on the real life account of Steve Lopez (Robert Downey Jr.) a LA Times journalist who befriended a homeless man he sees playing Beethoven on a two string violin.
Intrigued and sensing a possible story he digs deeper to find that Nathaniel Ayers (Jamie Foxx) now a schizophrenic was once a child music prodigy. Lopez then sets about taking Ayers off the streets and getting him to return to the world of music.
Now you'd think with the above you have the makings of the type of film that would feature come awards season.
That it won't (I hope) is down to director Joe Wright's heavy handed approach to the story.
There have been other films which have used the much the same issues as this film to better effect, for example Rain Man, Being There, A Beautiful Mind - even Forrest Gump.
Wright doesn't see a homelessness, mental health issue button that he doesn't press.
His visual style is another problem that plagues the film.
Early on we see Ayers having a schizophrenic moment while playing the cello.
The screen dissolves into various coloured patterns that reminded me of the Window Media Player.
Add to that the various musical numbers have the camera panning and swooping like a plastic bag in the wind.
It gets to the point where I recalled Downey's Kirk Lazarus from 2008 film Tropic Thunder.
In it he says to another character he would have won an Oscar but he went to "too much retard".
The acting from Foxx & Downey is impressive even if they've been dealt a bad had with the direction.
Christine Keener who plays Downey's boss is her ever dependable self.
The Soloist isn't a bad film per se as one that so badly wants to win awards it becomes over worthy and rather cynical.
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