August Rush full movie review - Ghastly
After what looked like a promising opening, this movie plummeted into a never-ending spiral of absolute predictability. There wasn't one authentic moment in the entire film.
This loose take on "Oliver Twist" was an interesting concept, but, on film, as other reviewers have pointed out, there isn't anything believable about any of it. For example: Why does Evan, aka August Rush (give me a break -- Robin Williams (!) steals the name off the side of a truck going by at the very moment he wants to give Evan a new name!), suddenly escape from the school for troubled boys? He had plenty of other opportunities... why now? When Evan is "trapped" in the subway station with Robin Williams and Arthur, why is it only after Arthur smashes Robin Williams over the head with a guitar that Evan suddenly sees an alternative exit?
The list of "Whys?" and "Huhs?" go on ad infinitum. After Lyla and Louis's big love-fest on the rooftop, how is it that they remain ageless for the next 11 years?
And the predictability! I could smell it miles before it wafted into view. When Lyla's father is dying, of course he's going to make a deathbed confession about the child that she gave birth to (prematurely after being hit by a car, and yet apparently delivering the child without complications, and said child being signed away by her father, who didn't want the child to interrupt her career as a cellist... and yet, what hospital would have given him the papers that SHE needed to sign... and yet, how would Terrence Howard know that it wasn't her signature --yes, I'm sure she told him off screen, but still... it looks so odd when he says it out of the blue--)... and even though Daddy didn't tell her the baby was a "he" -- she immediately starts babbling on about "he" and "him". And why is it that all the black people in the film are basically support people? What about Arthur (Leon Thomas III), who seems to actually have real guitar-playing and vocal talent? It's so convenient that the white people are rich and pretty. I am white, and I found the whole movie blatantly racist.
I essentially watched the entire film in shock. I love dear darling departed Robin Williams, and for the life of me could not understand why he made this film. Everything was forced and fake.
And then bizarre odd moments: When Lyla decides to resume her brilliant career as a cellist (her face is oddly lifeless while she "plays" the cello), she has a rehearsal session with, apparently, her BFF who is also a pianist (?). At the rehearsal session, we hear the BFF egging her on, and yet we don't see the BFF. We just hear her disembodied voice. It was either a mistake, an oversight or a true Twilight Zone moment.
We also have Evan sitting at a piano, after a 20-second "lesson" by a darling little black girl whose teeth haven't all quite come in, playing notes in the opposite direction of what we actually hear on the soundtrack. For a movie about music, this is an inexcusable oversight.
Last, and most irritating was the use of "Moondance" as a connecting song, one that Louis sings to Lyla, and one that ends up in Evan's big "symphony" at the end... in what way was that original? Are we supposed to believe that the child, who apparently had never been exposed to a single note of music before escaping from the boys' home, knew the melody to "Moondance" and therefore brilliantly wove in "thematic elements" from it into his debut symphonic masterpiece? What a joke.
Overall, all of the actors seemed like puppets or robots and every "twist" and "turn" could be predicted. If you want to be amused by questionable choices on the part of every single person involved in this travesty and enjoy laughing out loud at pathetically obvious "telegraphed" "moments," this is your Saturday-night popcorn movie. If not, run for the hills.