MPAA Rating: R
Starring: Billy Crudup, Anthon Yelchin, Laurence Fishburne
Director: William H. Macy
Runtime: 1 hr 45 mins
What It Is: Following a tragedy involving his son that is eluded to in the beginning. Sam (Crudup) leaves his job as an advertising executive. Now he lives life in a boat, isolated working as a house painter. As he mourns his son he begins to read and listen to the music his son made, and then he begins to try to play it. He stops by a local open mic and begins playing one of those songs. The song catches the ear of young musician Quentin who bugs and bugs and bugs Sam to play the song for him. Sam eventually gives in and the two begin to play music together. As they play the music it’s almost therapy for Sam however, as the truth about the tragic event unfolds and Quentin and company find out the source of the material there playing things start happening and the band named Rudderless starts to act like a boat with a similar condition.
What We Think: Crudup is the best I’ve seen him since Big Fish. Macy as a director makes his debut and his direction is subtle and that works for the premise. That being said the screenplay works out as way too manipulative. They use traumatic events as a way to glorify the characters decisions. It’s as if the writers were trying to make you cry in certain spots, and that’s very irritating. Yelchin comes off as sort of annoying and Selena Gomez’ small role is throwaway, and I believe that’s the major issue here, that none of the smaller characters are very good.
Our Grade: C+, It’s a great concept for a film, but it’s execution isn’t all that tremendous. It’s music will make you smile but it’s script is often dour and manipulative. It’s lacks subtlety and seems to wants to beat it’s message home. I can’t completely recommend the film but it’s worth a watch to see how a great character actor directs a film. Cool little note singer/songwriter Ben Kweller is in the film playing the bass player.