Down and Out
Release Date: April 24, 2009
Starring: Robert Downey, Jr., Jamie
Foxx, Catherine Keener, Tom
Hollander, and LisaGay
Runtime: 109 minutes
Distributor: Paramount Pictures/Viacom
Director: Joe Wright
Executive Producer: Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Jeff
Skoll, and Patricia Whitcher
Producer: Gary Foster and Russ Krasnoff
Writer: Susannah Grant
Address Comments To:Sumner Redstone, Chairman/CEO, Viacom
Brad Grey, Chairman/CEO, Paramount Pictures
5555 Melrose Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90038-3197
Phone: (323) 956-5000
Steve Lopez is an ace reporter for the L.A. Times who discovers a down-and-out homeless man, Nathaniel Ayers, a homeless black man played by Jamie Foxx who beautifully plays his damaged violin, which only has two strings. Nathaniel tells Steve he went to Julliard. Steve decides he has a great story at last.
Steve’s life has fallen apart. His wife, also a reporter, has left him, and his son doesn’t return his calls. To salvage his own life, Steve begins to see himself as the answer to Nathaniel’s problem. Nathaniel, however, is certifiably schizophrenic. He does not want to be saved. He does not want to live in an apartment. He prefers living on the street. Steve, however, works hard to get Nathaniel to come to a homeless shelter, to take him to a private concert by the L./A. Philharmonic, and to try to give him a recital. High society turns out for Nathaniel’s recital, but he goes bonkers and tries to club one of the other musicians.
THE SOLOIST is an inspirational movie with strong performances by Robert Downey, Jr. and Jamie Foxx. The music is uplifting. Best of all, it has a very strong Christian worldview that could reach many people.
In the process of trying to save Nathaniel, Steve learns about grace and faith and that he is not the Savior, but can be a friend. He also learns that the people who help the homeless are the Missions and the Christians. David, who runs The Lamp Mission, has a big sign on the building, “The wages of sin are death; God’s gift is eternal life.” David believes the homeless have been over-psycho-analyzed and need faith, not more psychobabble.
When Steve’s articles become the talk of the town, the mayor goes on a program to help the homeless. The program entails the police rounding up the homeless in a brutal sweep. Thus, government is not the solution. The movie even has one point where Steve makes fun of an atheist.
The problem with this movie is that it tries to be edgy. There’s a lot of gratuitous foul language, some intense brutality, and some strange, dreamlike effects when the music is playing. Parts of the movie forget the plot entirely and deal just with Steve’s reflections or problems. At one point, the movie becomes downright weird. This is a sign of over-indulgent directing.
The storyline of THE SOLOIST is very similar to THE GREAT BUCK HOWARD, but BUCK HOWARD had the good sense to have a very clear, clean plot. Regrettably, THE SOLOIST does not.
THE SOLOIST is to be commended for its Christian content, but extreme caution is advised for the foul language, and it’s doubtful it will be a crowd pleaser with its mixed-up storyline. The artistic community may learn something about Christians, government and Jesus Christ by watching it.
THE SOLOIST is an inspirational movie with strong performances by Robert Downey, Jr. and Jamie Foxx. The music is uplifting. Best of all, it has a very strong Christian worldview that could reach many people. The problem with the movie is that it tries to be too edgy. Thus, there is a significant amount of gratuitous foul language and some intense violence and strange, dreamlike effects. Parts of the movie forget the plot entirely and deal just with Steve’s problems. At one point, the movie becomes downright weird.