Saturday, April 25, 2009

"The Soloist" (2009) - Movie Review

What is the relationship of being a friend? The knowing of another person apart from the loved one is important. In schools and colleges, it happens to belong somewhere. It scatters when the roads takes different exits. Many depart and dissolve in the newly found things, grow apart and basically become different person. But sometimes it exists and travels beyond those territories where both the person growing differently acknowledge that and nourish their friendship in the process. Few thus become very best friends not on the ranking system but on the level of being unbelievably comfort in saying the worst of worst and best of best with the equal stature of gravity. But there are friendships which becomes beyond an expectation from each other. Not the basic communication and hanging out but a disappointment in their friend’s life decisions. It is about believing the rightness in stretching from help to demand in their friend’s life style. When there is something clearly wrong with our buddies and we try to do everything possibly we could and they disappoint us, we depart and distant. “The Soloist” tells a story of such nature, often clueless but few times getting right precisely.

It is formed upon the true story of Los Angeles Times newspaper Steve Lopez (Robert Downey Jr.) discovering the homeless Nathaniel Ayers (Jamie Foxx), a gifted musician. He becomes his column and then the help extends. Lopez does what he could and is awed by the homeless people scenario and wants this lost musician to find a better life. The problem is Ayers chose this life style. Because his mind was losing its way and he did not want to bother his sister Jennifer (Lisa Gay Hamilton). He has lines repeating and memorizing his new found friend, Steve Lopez in those.

Lopez is played by Robert Downey Jr. with the hurried mannerism for a journalist. He fits himself nice and easy with simple T-shirts and a flowery shirts to be in his elements. Comfort and cool, he writes the encounters of his day to day life close with the city and the political system based on it. That is how he finds Ayers playing a violin with two strings. Ayers mentions his drop out from Julliard school and with a few calls, Lopez writes his column. After that his relationship with the troubled Ayers vacillates with the partial role of journalism and a provider. This oscillation forms his problem in placing this man in his life.

Having a responsibility of taking care of some one is not easy. Your conscience wants to but letting the other disturb the balance of the every day activity surmounts a troubling dilemma. Thus it would become this half baked attempt. Many of us suffer through that tenure of disturbed guilt. This guilt erases itself as the avoidance of seeing that person. But in the case of Lopez, it is a deal of Ayers providing material for his job and hence this responsibility becomes something he takes when he wants to. This screws up the expectation of what Ayers want and vice versa.

Bringing out this is where “The Soloist” suffers. It explores into this dreary and despair of the homeless existence. That exploration while has the sadness and shocking image of that livelihood needs a more explicit approach. The rawness of that place carries a painted portrayal in the film. The objective of making it edible for the regular movie goers betrays the reality. Similarly there is no hold on this attempt of Lopez to do the good will with expectation. He constantly wants to help with a reward in the end and that does not come through. This is the grasp of the situation but the film is far from it. It slips away every time it has the control.

But there are some beautiful scenes of music and images interlacing the screen mesmerizing us into the same trance Ayers resides. Especially when he is taken by Lopez to a rehearsal Orchestra. The screen turns into this kaleidoscope of levitated state in the viewers. The music jumps the image and to be fair while we have seen these kind of dancing patterns of pictures, lighting and fountains, this is the closest you can draw on someone’s elated mind on hearing those notes of purity. In that Joe Wright finds those because the music is captivating and it is no surprise that inspired him to put that out there.

“The Soloist” has good actors playing their calibre and being that person. The chemistry in between Downey Jr. and Foxx flames here and there with the major absence of it in the rest of the film. Catherine Keener as Lopez’s ex-wife would have needed more than couple of drunken accusation and mild smiles to support the personal crisis he goes through. This is a film needing alterations. The agony of Lopez to not clearly reach out Ayers as the way he supposed to is what we feel about “The Soloist”.


Nomad said...

it makes sense that they would Robert Downey Jr. as an intellectual/journalist type, he was a similar character in Zodiac

Ashok said...

Yeah quite right Nomad. But Downey Jr. brings out a different journalist out here from the one in Zodiac though. Still the film did not hit the point to be that better film.