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Has the American public set its bar so low that it will dive into and embrace this which has no depth?

Movie Review: August Rush

Written by Hombre Divertido 

Rarely has so much potential been squandered on poor writing and poor directing. The premise was solid, an excellent cast was assembled, and said cast gave good performances considering what they were given, yet this Oliver Twist meets Serendipity with a splash of Searching for Bobby Fisher thrown in results in 113 minutes of painful schlock.

Lyla (Keri Russell) who is an accomplished cellist meets Louis (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) the up-and-coming rock star at a party. They have a one-night stand that results in her pregnancy. Unfortunately they are not able to meet up the next day and are incapable of finding each other again for more than eleven years. Don’t ask why. No brains involved in this production, and thus none allowed in the theatre.

Prior to the birth, Lyla gets in an accident and is told by her father (William Sadler) that she lost the baby. Actually the baby did survive, but Grandpa put the kid in an orphanage so as not to interfere with her daughter’s budding career.

So the child grows up in the orphanage, and Lyla and Louis both give up playing music due to the unhealed emotional wounds associated with the loss of their child and love respectively. Nope, no questions allowed here either.

We pick up our story meeting Evan (Freddie Highmore) who is eleven and has grown up in an orphanage. He is not only the odd kid amongst his peers, but believes his parents are alive. He eventually runs away to the big city where he is taken in by the Wizard
(Robin Williams), who has the Fagin role in managing a group of parentless street performers. Evan’s musical gifts are discovered, developed, and eventually exploited, by the Wizard who renames Evan “August Rush” for marketing purposes. Luckily Evan/August manages to break free and ends up at Julliard. Yes, Julliard, where he magically becomes enrolled. Try to let it go.

On his deathbed, Lyla’s father confesses, and she sets out to find her son. Not a bad premise so far.

Also in the cast is Terrance Howard, as a social worker, and his performance is fine, as is the rest of the cast. The problems here are writing and directing. The script contains no turns that you won’t see coming, and a ton of turns that should have been taken that remain unexplored. The dialog is one–dimensional and you can see the actors straining to get out of the ties that bind them. The directing also contains too many bad choices. From scene construction, to camera angles, to editing, this film is just one frustration after another.

The music is good, and the film is attractive to look at. That’s pretty much it.

Recommendation: Don’t rush in August or any other month to see this sappy predictable piece of film on DVD or television. Let us hope that the American public has not set its bar so low that it will dive into and embrace this which has no depth.

About Gordon S. Miller

Gordon S. Miller is the artist formerly known as El Bicho, the nom de plume he used when he first began reviewing movies online for The Masked Movie Snobs in 2003. Before the year was out, he became that site's publisher. Over the years, he has also contributed to a number of other sites as a writer and editor, such as FilmRadar, Film School Rejects, High Def Digest, and Blogcritics. He is the Publisher of Cinema Sentries. Some of his random thoughts can be found at twitter.com/ElBicho_CS

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