Saturday, November 21, 2009
The Soloist. D
There's a reason 'The Soloist' fled from the Oscar frenzy scene of November 2008 to the trivial month of April, 2009. The studios saw the outline: the uplifting true story of Steve Lopez and his relationship with the homeless, schizophrenic musical prodigy Nathaniel Ayers. Oscar winner Jamie Foxx and Oscar nominee Robert Downey Jr. in leading roles, and director Joe Wright, who's previous works include the acclaimed but unnecessary 'Pride and Prejudice,' and the near masterpiece, 'Atonement,' at the helm of it all. They must have thought that it would be ideal Ocar bait. But then a test print of it was probably seen by a studio executive, who passed the word along that this movie sucks! And indeed it does. So 'The Soloist' was essentially thrown away by being moved back to April. And it's a good thing it did. This was a dull movie that had terrible focus. Every time it attempted to reveal something about the characters it fell through. It was painful to watch each scene unfold. It was painful to see Jamie Foxx act like a schizophrenic. It was painful to listen to one brooding, tedious musical number after another. The story has potential (though it's obvious what it's trying to do), but it never pulls off its desired effect. Even the look of the picture made me nauseous. I'm shocked at how much I detested this film simply because of all the talent that was behind it. I'm not really sure why it didn't work. I don't see how Joe Wright could have possibly been satisfied with the script or how the scenes unfolded. What an excruciating movie this is. Thankfully it's not too maudlin, which would made it about ten times worse than 'August Rush' (or as Michael Phillips said, 'August Sugar Rush'). President Obama is on his way to passing his health care bill. 'The Soloist,' in one of its underlying messages, is clearly in support of Socialist health care. It also contains messages about the growing rates of homeless people. Like the movie itself, these little ideas felt crammed, confused, and utterly hazy.