Saturday, May 30, 2009

Jason watches THE SOLOIST

Great acting, in a movie that...I don't know...should've been better. Maybe. It feels like a movie that's set up for awards season, but then inexplicably dumped in late spring/early summer. And there's some easy tweaks (e.g., a happy ending, a simpler narrative) that would've made it easy Oscar-bait. And I would've dismissed it as just that. Instead it attempts a narrative that more subtle, more difficult, and more realistic. And that gets messy. And it still has Oscar-baiting moments. So I'm left with little to hold on to, other than great performances by Robert Downey Jr. and Jamie Foxx. It has so much going for it, it's frustrating that it doesn't completely work. And it's even more frustrating that I can't tell if it's a victim of over-ambition or under-achievement.


Dadmaniac said...

Mom and I saw this a few weeks ago. We both read the book which is very, very good. Movies usually don't hold up well against the book and this one was no exception. I thought that both lead actors did well, but the story is so much more compelling when you know all the facts. Left out was the whole section on playing the violin (before the cello was donated). Also, it didn't capture the danger to Nathanial when he camped in the woods near the underpass (as opposed to Skid Row near LAMP). However, still, it was compelling...and what I found most compelling were the street scenes filmed around the LAMP. I believe they used a lot of the street people from the area as many credits only listed a first name. The scenes down in the ghetto were the ones that came closest to capturing the essence of the book.

puppymeat said...

Dadmaniac, I'll have to borrow the book the next time I'm up. And you make an excellent point I forgot to mention--the homeless scenes around LAMP were excellent. Steve Lopez opening his eyes and learning about homelessness was the best part.

Dadmaniac said...

Check with Lisa. She should have the book now. Bonus...she'll be a lot closer to Freakmont in September when she and Jon move to Bellingham, Washington (ironically, on Fremont St.)