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Review for William H. Macy's Beautiful Film RUDDERLESS - Sundance '14

Movie Review Sundance 2014 by Joey Paur

Rudderless is the first feature film directed by William H. Macy, and it made its premiere at this year's Sundance Film Festival. The movie was incredibly well made, and it tells a very heavy story about a father named Sam who loses his son in a school shooting. His son had left behind a box of original music that he recorded. Sam gets a hold of this music and falls in love with what his son had created. He ends up learning the songs himself, and plays them in a little bar where he is approached by a young man named Quentin who talks Sam into playing the music with him. They end up forming a band that becomes quite popular in the town. There's a secret behind everything that no one knows that throws everything off, and it takes the story to a whole new level of emotional wow. 

The movie has a great cast of actors that includes Billy Crudup as Sam and Anton Yelchin as Quentin, as well as Selena Gomez, Laurence Fishburne, and Ben Kweller. Everyone gave great performances, but Crudup was absolutely incredible. He gave one of the best performances in any of the films that I saw at Sundance. I've always liked Crudup, but he just shined on the screen in this movie. It's easily one of the best things that he's done. 

One of the things that I loved about the movie was the music. It was wonderfully breathtaking. It's through this music that you get to know the type of person that Sam's son was. You really come to care about his son through the course of the film, and the music plays a huge part of it. I can't wait to get a hold of the soundtrack.

These is a moment in the film that hit me in the gut. The movie got a lot of mixed reviews at the festival. Everyone like the first half of the movie, but didn't seem to care for the second half. Having seen the film, I understand why some people didn't like the second half. The audience is kind of forced to make a choice about how they feel. I actually loved the movie as a whole, and I really liked how the movie challenged me emotionally. 

This is a movie that I would recommend to everyone. It's just one of those movies that has to be seen, and for those of you who like good music, then it's a must watch as the movie centers around the music that Sam's son wrote. I'm not saying all of you will like it, but I still think it's worth your time to see it. I'm pretty confident the film will get a theatrical release.

Here's the official synopsis:

Sam is a former high-profile advertising executive whose life has been torn apart by the tragic death of his son. Off the grid, living on a docked sailboat, he drowns his pain in alcohol. When Sam discovers a box filled with his son's demo tapes and lyrics, his own child’s musical talent is a revelation for him, a grieving father who felt he’d been absent from his son’s life. Communing with his deceased son’s dashed dreams, Sam learns each song and eventually musters the will to play one at a local bar. When Quentin, a young musician in the audience, is captivated by the song, the unlikely duo form a rock band that becomes surprisingly popular and changes both of their lives.

A searing performance from Billy Crudup, as Sam, leads an exemplary cast that includes Anton Yelchin as Quentin, plus Selena Gomez and Laurence Fishburne. Casey Twenter and Jeff Robison’s potent screenplay was the launching pad for acclaimed actor William H. Macy’s glorious feature-directing debut. Rudderless is a poignant musical drama about the power of a parent’s love.

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