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| 1 November 2015 | Reply

Shock Entertainment
Directed by William H Macy
Starring Billy Crudup, Anton Yelchin, Felicity Huffman, Selena Gomez and Laurence Fishburne
Directed by Shane Pinnegar

Rudderless DVD

Billy Crudup once again picks up the guitar for this striking and powerful starring role as Sam, a man who is – as the title states – lost and without the means to steer himself right, but Rudderless is a long, long way from his turn as Russell Hammond in Cameron Crowe’s Almost Famous.

After the death of his son in a university shooting, Sam’s marriage disintegrates as he wallows in a very deep vat of booze, until one day he discovers a box of his son’s demo tapes.

He learns to play them – ostensibly as a way to reconnect with his lost child, though we learn later (there will be spoilers folks, though not yet) it is as much a way for him to understand what happened, what went wrong, as anything else.

Quentin (Anton Yelchin) is captivated by the songs Sam plays at an open mic night, and badgers him to form a band, which he eventually, reluctantly, and somewhat furtively, does, seeing some light at the end of the very long tunnel he is in as the band become more and more popular.

It all comes crashing down though, (here there be spoilers, folks!) as Sam’s secret is finally revealed – not only are the songs he is teaching the band not his own compositions, they were written by his son – the killer who turned a rifle on his fellow university students.

It’s a heart-in-mouth twist for this story. We’ve seen many films explore what it means to recover as the parent of a child lost to murder or accident or ill health, but I can’t recall a single one delve deeply into what you would do if you discovered your child was a deranged murderer.

Crudup gives an excellent performance as the hapless Sam, a man who no longer knows which way is up, and Oscar nominated actor William H Macy’s debut direction is masterful, treating the subject matter with the sensitivity it deserves. Ultimately Rudderless gives us all – including the primary characters – hope that things might just get better with time, but it never glosses over the difficulties of its subject, and Sam’s journey never feels anything less than real.

Category: Movie & Theatre Reviews

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