out of Five
Running time: 113
Nauseating drama with poor direction, dodgy performances and a sappy, cliche-laden script.
What's it all about?
Freddie Highmore plays musically gifted orphan Evan Taylor, who dreams of reuniting the parents he's never met through the power of music. When he escapes the orphanage and winds up in New York, he's taken under the wing of the Fagin-like Wizard (Robin Williams), who renames him August Rush and attempts to make money out of his talent, eventually bringing him to the attention of the prestigious Julliard academy.
Meanwhile, flashbacks reveal the circumstances in which Evan's musician parents - guitarist Louis (Jonathan Rhys Myers) and cellist Lyla (Keri Russell) - met, fell in love and were then separated by fate, with Lyla believing she'd lost her baby in a car accident.
However, when Lyla learns the truth, she sets about finding Evan with the help of a kindly social worker (Terrence Howard), while, at the same time, Louis finds himself compelled to return to New York to look for Lyla again.
To be fair, the music sequences (with Highmore slapping a guitar) have a hint of originality about them and both Highmore and the always-excellent Terrence Howard do their best, but it's not enough to make you care.
August Rush is so mind-numbingly tedious that it's difficult to know where to begin - for one thing, it's one of those movies where if you've seen the (equally nauseating) trailer then you've basically seen the entire film. Director Kirsten Sheridan (Disco Pigs) has to shoulder much of the blame, because the cliche-laden script calls for a sort of fairytale atmosphere that she's unable to deliver.
The acting is pretty bad too, especially Keri Russell, who gives yet another blankly wooden performance. However, the atrociousness of her performance is eclipsed by Robin Williams, who seems to think he's some sort of ginger amalgam of Fagin and Bono.
In short, August Rush is an insult to feelgood movies everywhere. If you want a music-themed emotional drama, rent Mr Holland's Opus instead.