Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Soloist


This is the true story (the film was based on the book by Steve Lopez) of Steve Lopez who is a reporter who one day comes across a homeless man Nathaniel Ayres who is playing the violin. Steve can tell that Nathaniel has great musical talent and he decides to make him his new story for the paper. Of course word gets out about it, and Steve tries to help Nathaniel and a friendship forms between the two.

Okay so yes this is based on a true story, taken from the articles and book that the real Steve Lopez wrote, now I haven't read them and I am not sure how much is fact or fiction. But this pretty much does follow the formula of these types of films and I am not sure it really brought anything new to the table. The actual story itself is a really good and interesting one, and the characters presented are interesting as well. I felt Nathaniel was interesting, I wanted to know how he became homeless, did he know he was mentally ill? We do get a series of flashbacks but I actually wanted more, I wanted to see more of his early life.

The style of the film I actually don't think really suited the story it was telling. It was a little bit confusing at times, and with the actual story in relation to Steve Lopez and his boss Mary, we are left to assume we know their relationship. But it isn't explained at all and we just assume she is his ex wife with a complicated relationship. The pacing of the film was a little bit off at times as well, and it certainly could have had some cuts to make it sharper.

The films high points, I would start off with the music, it is actually just so beautiful and a real treat to listen to. When Nathaniel plays the Cello in this one scene I just thought it was done so affectively with the images, it came off so well. Jamie Foxx who plays Nathaniel (and he likes bio pics apparently) was really good in this role. He actually really disappeared into the character and the make up used was excellent. You couldn't really tell it was Jamie Foxx at times, and he did well playing a young Nathaniel as well. Jamie Foxx is quite the talented actor, and this in my opinion really suited him. This role was more of a challenge and I am really glad he was picked for this. Robert Downey Jr could have played this role in his sleep, I am not saying he wasn't good, he was great and he was a good choice. I just don't think his role as Steve was all that challenging for him. He did come off well and they both had good chemistry together and some of their scenes are rather touching. Catherine Keener is always good, and she was fine here as well.

This isn't a film for everyone, it does try to send a message about the homeless situation in Los Angeles and I think it does come off well, and it does make you hope that things are getting done there. For a bio pic I thought it was good, I just really think the style didn't suit the story it was telling. The music aspect I thought was great and if you do like that kind of thing I do think you will get something out of it. Of course if you are a fan of the actors it is worth checking out for them, especially Jamie Foxx in a role which is a bit different from what he does. This should have been better but it is still a good film if maybe a little bit average.

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