Wednesday, December 5, 2007

August Rush

I've been falling behind a bit on film reviews. There's several that I have seen for a while now, that I still haven't written reviews up. I'll try to rectify this situation- starting with August Rush. This was on my top 20 for the rest of the year list, and unfortunately, it didn't meet my expectations. I'm not sure what I expected. It was inspirational, and had good music, but it was just way too sappy for me.

This may sound crazy, but I found some distinct similarities between this an "Perfume: the Story of a Murderer," which I reviewed in August. Both of these movies are about orphans who are incredibly gifted with one of their senses, but lack any sort of social skills. The difference is that in Perfume, he goes on to be a murderer, and in August Rush, he simply wants to find his parents. This movie is a bit more friendly.

August Rush (Freddie Highmore) is the aforementioned orphan with the impeccable ear for music. He was a product of one night of romance between concert cellist Lyla (Keri Russell), and punk singer Louis (Johnathon Rhys Meyers). Apparently she was trying to get away from her overbearing father, or at least slum it for the night. After an unlikely series of events, she had her baby taken away from her and put in an orphanage. The rest of the movie focuses on her and her son trying to find each other, using music as a guide.

August leaves the orphanage in hopes of finding his mother, using music. Along the way he an array of characters including The Wizard (Robin Williams) a performer who runs a band of street urchins who play guitar for money. I couldn't help but wonder if I was actually watching Oliver. Highmore and Williams were both very good, but I just didn't really buy the characters themselves.

The whole thing is pretty inspirational, with August being a musical prodigy, and using his talents to try to find his parents. It also throws in a kind of tacked on contrast between the upper class (Lyla's concert venues, and August's time at Julliard), the lower class (Louis's punk band, and the street musicians), and the in-between (a group August meets at a church). All of these groups come together in the end because of music. It's a nice little story, but nothing special. And when it comes to musical inspiration, it doesn't hold a candle to movies like Mr. Holland's Opus.


No comments: