Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Soloist and the dignity of non-judgment

The Soloist, based on a true story, shines a heart-warming ray of light into squalor, blight and hopelessness.

The backdrop is Los Angeles, which ultimately serves as a metaphor for the human condition, and it's depressing. 

Throughout the film we are shown alternating images and vistas of beauty and ugliness, order and chaos, light and darkness: in one scene, the camera pans upwards from the literal underbelly of streets where the homeless Mr. Nathaniel Anthony Ayers (played by Jamie Foxx) lives to the bright shiny streets of downtown Los Angeles where Times writer Steve Lopez (played by Robert Downey, Jr.) works. There are plenty of more visually disturbing scenes to offset the bright, sunny beautiful scenes worth seeing almost for their own sake. But the screenplay is not the driving force of this movie. The driving force of this movie is, absolutely, the story - no car chase, no explosions, no '"big reveal" twist ending...just a heartwarming story.