August Rush (2007)

Yellow Bricks Heard

There are three kinds of film that I value and treat differently: those who truly leverage dance, space or sound. I have not yet found one that exploits mathematical space, and would add that when it appears, probably from Ruiz and Greenaway who come close.

Of those three, we have some interesting and a few lifealtering dance movies. We have some successful experiments with space. But its music that seems the most challenging, and I think the reason is obvious: if you want a great film it has to be cinematic — you have to get the world visually first. Everything else is annotation.

But what is cinematic sound? Does the fact that we are trained to not acknowledge a film score work against us? Is it possible to host such a bold experiment in a sappy, mainstream wrapper, with holy cow Robin Williams?

It seems so. Yes, I will advise that you have to actively ignore the pull, the drive of this thing and all the plot, characters and acting associated with it, and simply revel in the notion that the urges in this film are all sonic. Yes, I found some of the visual expressions of inner music silly, just as I do with mathematical urge. But they tried; they built an entire project uncompromisingly around the idea of music as an urge….

And not just an urge, but one integrated into the wheels of fate and justice that control the noir dynamics of modern film. Yes, we know the family will be reunited. Yes, we know all urges will find the path to the happy ending. But this is such a unique effect that it makes all the deficiencies worthwhile. I was excited by this film, and having seen it remain excited. See it. Help advance the cause.

Posted in 2008

Ted’s Evaluation — 3 of 3: Worth watching.


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