The Soloist

The Soloist (Joe Wright, 2009) Jamie Foxx, Robert Downey

Coming typically late to The Soloist (Joe Wright, 2009), my not having ever seen Jamie Foxx before shd've been a good thing. As it was, I couldn't made sense of anything. What makes Ayers go mad? No indication. What drives Downey's character? Not nearly as much as drives Downey. Why are there 90,000 homeless in LA? Look outside the film for an answer. … Inside the film, Beethoven sounds good, but contributes much less to any meaning than he does in A Clockwork Orange (Stanley Kubrick, 1971) – which isn't saying a great deal.

Unfortunately, Joe Wright's 2009 film about Nathaniel Anthony Ayers automatically requires comparison with two other films, one about a loopy cellist and the other a 'schizophrenic' pianist: Hilary and Jackie (Anand Tucker, 1998) and Shine (Scott Hicks, 1996). And Jamie Foxx is not a patch on either Emily Watson as Jacqueline du Pre, who really looks like she is playing the cello, and Geoffrey Rush as David Helfgott, with his brilliant word salad. Foxx is not in the same universe of acting as either of them. But Robert Downey is very good indeed: I kept being reminded of George Clooney, but think he wouldn't have done this as well as Downey.

Garry Gillard | New: 5 March, 2017 | Now: 1 April, 2020