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The Soloist (5/10)
by Tony Medley
Runtime 125 minutes.
This is going to be a hard film for most to
stomach. Itís an interesting story, but is far too long. Itís worth
seeing because Robert Downey, Jr. is one of the best actors extant and
gives a sparkling performance. Not to be outdone are Jamie Foxx and
Catherine Keener. Keener is especially outstanding, but when is she not?
Keener is so good Iíd put her up for consideration for an Oscarģ
nomination. But the film is due to make not much of a ripple. It was
originally scheduled to come out last year in time for Oscarģ
consideration, but cooler heads prevailed and itís thrown away here in
the spring where most mediocre films go to die.
Based on a true story, Nathaniel Ayers (Foxx)
is a Juilliard-trained musician, who became a street person when he
developed schizophrenia. Steve Lopez (Downey)
writes a column for the Los Angeles Times and runs across Ayers. Not one
to miss a good story, he writes column after column and, eventually, the
book upon which this film is based.
Unfortunately, the story here is pretty
skimpy, even if itís interesting and has heart-warming elements. There
is just not enough there for a two hour plus film.
The film captures what it must be like to be
schizophrenic better than you have ever seen in the movies. But the
problem is that the cinematography (Seamus McGarvey) and directing (Joe
Wright) are less than the sum of the actorsí parts. In fact, all three
actors give stellar performances. But there are so many scenes of people
thinking and ECUs that, for me, this was a real squirmer.
The friend who accompanied me, however, liked
it. I think she is in the minority, although the acting is terrific.