Title: The Soloist
Director: Joe Wright
Writer: Susannah Grant
Starring: Jamie Foxx, Robert Downey Jr., Catherine Keener
Running: 117 min
Format: Blu-ray and DVD
Directed by Joe Wright (Atonement) The Soloist is a compelling story about a musically talented, yet mentally troubled man, Nathaniel Ayers, Jr. Despite being homeless and suffering from schizophrenia he is given a second chance.
Based on a series of columns written by Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez, who serialised the life and times of Ayers. It was turned into a book and then into a film, the screenplay for which was written by Susannah Grant.
Steve Lopez not only told the story of Ayers’ battle, he also helped him personally to rekindle his natural talent as well as helping him to regain control of his life and his musical ability.
The performances of Jamie Foxx, Robert Downey Jr. and Catherine Keener are all first rate and whilst some critics have criticised both the narrative structure of this film as well as Joe Wright’s direction as being weak and uneven in places, I still feel that on reflection the film as a whole still managed to get across a powerful message. Taken back to the bones the story is a gripping one and consequently the film still managed to entertain me for a couple of hours. Notably the strong performances helped to cover any cracks in the storyline and the direction.
Overall The Soloist is a good film that could have been better but still managed to engage me as a viewer whilst also educating me about the illness of schizophrenia and the plight of the homeless.