August Rush review

The more foreign films I watch, the more my eyes are opened about American cinema. We have been on the top for so long that it is always a battle of giving audiences exactly what they want in order to stay there. This means that many successes in foreign countries are quickly stolen from and duplicated by executives who are sent to festivals and see what audiences like. I find it very suspicious that shortly after South Korea made the incredible monster film, The Host (which actually points the finger of blame at The United States as well as many other authority figures), J.J. Abrahams similar attack on Manhattan took place. Like Cloverfield, The Host has a group of people going back into the dangerous zone in order to rescue on of their own. This wasn’t the only film which seemed to spring from the success of a foreign film, and as it was over two years ago that Once was made; it isn’t surprising that the overwhelming amount of heart and music was appropriately applied to an American film.

Like Once, August Rush is a film that exudes with the pure love for the art of creating music, and just as Once relied on an amazing cast, August Rain stands on the shoulders of Freddie Highmore. Few children stand out as stars in film, but just as Dakota Fanning and Haley Joel Osment and recently Abigail Breslin have stood out as young children with remarkable talent, Freddie Highmore has long been in this category. Ever since Finding Neverland Highmore has been used frequently, but no film has given him as many opportunities to use his abilities better than August Rush since that first success.

In August Rush Highmore plays Evan Taylor, an orphan (anyone know how an orphan gets a last name?) who is convinced that the power of music will help unite him with his parents, even though he has never played a note in his life. He hears music everywhere he is, and doesn’t need any instruments in order to create his symphony in his head. This is the symphony he hopes will save him from the terrible boy’s home. Deciding to take matters into his own hands he escapes from the home and makes his way for New York City. He is certain that music will bring his parents to him, and oddly enough both of his parents (Keri Russell and Jonathan Rhys Meyers) are indeed musicians, and I suppose this is why we are led to believe that Evan is such a musical genius. Evan’s parents did not want to give him up, nor did they want to give each other up, and an elaborate set of melodramatic explanations explain that bit, but explanation is useless in a movie like this. What is really important is the heart.

Evan is swept up into the city and once a street performer (Robin Williams) takes him under his wings Evan is given the name August Rush and put on the street to make money with Williams acting like a pimp/agent in the spirit of a homeless and greedy Bono. Evan is also helped by a Reverend James (Mykelti Williamson) and soon he heralded as a musical genius and given a chance to have a piece of music he has written performed in central park, and he hopes his parents will hear the music and find him.

August Rush has a fault, and I feel I must point it out. This is an extremely predictable, melodramatic and more than a little cheesy film, which is essentially a re-telling of Oliver Twist with consideration to the success of Once. August rush is even directed by an Irish born filmmaker. With that being said, it is written with such sincere exuberance and so convincingly carried through by the honest and dedicated performance from Highmore that I loved every predictable moment of it.

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