Crudup on course in ‘Rudderless’
By Leba Hertz
COPYRIGHT 2014, SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE
It’s not easy making an uplifting film about the aftermath of the death of a son. But director and co-writer William H. Macy and actor Billy Crudup as the bereaved father pull it off in “Rudderless,” a movie more about redemption than the causes of evil.
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Unlike the somber tones of the 2011 film “We Need to Talk About Kevin,” the approach of “Rudderless” centers on the father Sam (Crudup) who tries to resolve his and son Josh’s failures through music and a young man who looks at Sam as a father figure.
Once an overachieving advertising director who led a shallow life, Sam has landed in a small town, living on a boat, taking on odd jobs and hanging out a bar that holds open mike (look out for Kate Micucci from “Garfunkel and Oates” singing about a whore). After his ex-wife (Felicity Huffman) brings over their son’s belongings, he discovers Josh’s music and gets the nerve to perform one of the songs. Quentin (Anton Yelchin), the young man who has had a troubled past himself, hears the music and convinces Sam they should form a band.
Others in the cast include Laurence Fishburne as the wise owner of a music store, Macy who runs the bar and Selena Gomez as Josh’s former girlfriend who has trouble adjusting.
What makes this movie work is the charisma of Crudup and that Macy and Co. don’t dwell on the events that led up to the shooting. Rather, they use the son’s death as a launching for Sam’s journey into accepting the loss and getting on with his life. The music is written by Simon Steadman and Charlton Pettus of SolidState and allows this to become a movie about a hopeful future instead of a sad past.
Drama: Starring Billy Crudup and Anton Yelchin. Directed by William H. Macy. (R. 105 minutes.) 3 STARS OUT OF 4 STARS