‘The Soloist’ fails to live up to potential

The trailer for The Soloist showed so much promise. It was stirring, emotional, beautiful and featured amazing music. Combining Robert Downey Jr. and Jamie Foxx with director Joe Wright should have created something electrifying. Unfortunately, the final product is far less than the individual parts. Downey, Wright and an immense amount of Beethoven and Bach are all wasted on a film that is more saccharine and preachy than anything.

The main problem lies not in its performances, one outstanding (Downey) and one cloying (the overrated Jamie Foxx), nor in its direction. Wright, who rose to fame with films like 2005’s rehash of Pride and Prejudice and 2007’s Atonement, presents an honest and unsparing look at homelessness and mental illness on Los Angeles’ famed Skid Row, but the issue at hand is the plot. Simply put, nothing happens for far too long. A journalist (Downey) befriends a schizophrenic, immensely talented musician (Foxx), and then nothing happens. Will the musician overcome his illness to play again? Will the journalist remain the musician’s friend? Will anyone care? Honestly, probably not.

Rating: 2/4 stars