- Kristen Sheridan
- Reviewed by
- Josť Ruiloba a.k.a. Morris
- Review date
- Monday, March 24, 2008
Evan Taylor (Freddie Highmore) was born out of a romantic one night encounter between a promising cellist, Lyla Novacek (Keri Russell), and the lead of a rock band, Louis Connelly (Jonathan Rhys Meyers). But Lylaís father, Thomas (William Sadler) fooled her into thinking his son died at birth and Evan was sent to an orphanage. Dreaming of finding his parents he escapes and ends up in New York, where he works for a child exploiter known as the Wizard (Robin Williams). As it happens, Evan is a musical prodigy and he soon finds himself working under the name of August Rush, something that makes it more complicated for childís care official Richard Jeffries (Terrence Howard) to find him.
Kirsten Sheridan directed from a screenplay by Nick Castle and James V. Hart. The main problem with their work is that it suffers from a case of ďthe weirdnessĒ. The movie opens with a narration from Evan detailing how he can find music in everything he hears; ok, nice concept, fair enough. But then he goes all ďif I play enough music my parents will listen and find meĒ. Innocent lad, ok. But guess what? He was right! So this is a fantasy, ok, I can go with it. And then comes the wacko who wants to profit from August and itís all pretty bleak and disturbing. Even Augustís parents come off as strange folk, although itís hard not to identify with Lylaís ordeal; sheís the only character for which I felt anything.
The third act involves August and his parents eventually coming closer and closer together. We all know how the thingís going to end since the very first scene, but the movie is certainly affecting when it comes to its finale (thatís how it earned the half-star in my grade). An amazing series of coincidences are necessary for it to work, but the suspension of disbelief had kicked in long before so it isnít that bothersome. Unfortunately when it comes to the very last sequence the movie was screaming for an over-the-top melodramatic encounter filled with slow-mo shots and a big hug. Forget about it, thereís nothing of the sort and even though we are lifted the payoff simply doesnít deliver; a pity.
Music plays an important role in the movie, as you might imagine, so itís also a shame that it isnít memorable. Itís all good enough, whether itís Louis singing or August playing, but nothing really stands out and I canít remember a single tune. Mark Mancinaís score is adequate, although nothing to write home about.
Freddie Highmore, a child actor I have always found to be naturally talented, actually disappointed me this time around. He is completely stiff, with no trace of spontaneity and a lot of forced moments. Keri Russell is excellent, the one true standout. And Jonathan Rhys Meyers is also good, although heís a bit too edgy for this kind of role; it was hard to detach the actor from the character. Terrence Howard is wasted and doesnít really have anything to do, while Robin Williams is plain weird. I donít know about you, but the last years I canít even stand to look at him, thatís how bad itís gotten.
ďThe music is all around you, all you have to do is listen.Ē
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