AUGUST RUSH (Kirsten Sheridan). 100 minutes. Now playing. Rating: NN
It's a real twist that a film about a genetically gifted musical prodigy should have such a good pedigree and amount to so little. Jim Sheridan's daughter Kirsten directed August Rush. It stars the preternaturally talented Freddie Highmore, the sexy Jonathan Rhys Meyers, the exquisite Keri Russell and the compelling Terrence Howard. And yet: meh.
We'll forget that even Mozart didn't learn an instrument as fast as little August (Highmore). We'll pretend the screenwriters didn't just rewrite Oliver Twist, complete with Robin Williams as a musical Fagin exploiting child buskers.
We'll ignore the fact that making August's lost parents a rock singer (Rhys Meyers) and a cellist (Russell) would have been much cooler had the roles been reversed. Or that the film trots out the tired archetype of the Helpful Black Character(s): there's Howard as a child services worker, plus a preacher, a young gospel singer and the Artful Dodger character.
No, the worst thing is that this film, which wants me to hear music everywhere, made me long for a sensory deprivation tank, or at least a move to the country. Kudos to all the sound people and musicians involved, but no amount of talent can spin this fairy tale's straw into gold, or make me hear street sounds as anything but noise.