Cinema Review: Rudderless | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Wednesday, January 27th, 2021  

Rudderless

Studio: Samuel Goldwyn Films
Directed by William H. Macy

Oct 15, 2014 Web Exclusive
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Sam (Billy Crudup) is a successful advertising executive whose life is completely shattered by the untimely death of his college-aged son. Unable to cope with his grief, Sam disappears, forsaking his comfortable life in favor of a blue-collar job in a working-class town. One day, Sam’s ex delivers a box of their son’s possessions, in which Sam discovers recordings his son made of songs he had written. Driven by the connection he feels to his late child while listening to the music, Sam begins performing the songs at a local open mic night. After Sam’s debut outing, Quentin (Anton Yelchin), a younger man also with a troubled past, convinces Sam he must share the music with the world; together they form a band, Rudderless, and though they meet with increasing acclaim, Sam continues to harbor the secret of the songs’ origins.

The most pleasantly surprising element of Rudderless is its soundtrack. The songs, most of which are actually performed by the Rudderless band (Crudup, Yelchin, Ben Kweller, and Ryand Dean, and primarily written by Simon Steadman and Charlton Pettus) are melodious and endearing, both humorous and moving. Crudup and Yelchin prove talented musicians (even if a lot of the music is remastered in-studio). Crudup delivers a strong performance, as does the always-likable Yelchin, and while the story itself hits a chord, the songs and joy they often deliver conspire to overshadow the plot. Rudderless comes out of nowhere with unexpected potency, showcasing William H. Macy’s prowess as a new director. (His only other directing credit is a TV movie in the late 80s.)

As engaging and moving as the film is, fans are encouraged to keep an eye out for the soundtrack, which echoes louder than the film itself.

rudderlessthemovie.com

Author rating: 7/10

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