It’s only June, but given this summer’s played-out themes of three-quels, visual effects and the bigger-is-best approach to blockbusters, we figure it’s never too early to address some of fall’s film fare.
In this case, one film in particular – Warner Bros. aptly-titled August Rush. ComingSoon recently attended a special preview screening of footage from the upcoming film and we liked what we saw.
“Rush” is the story of a chance encounter between two young musicians (Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Keri Russell) who are unexpectedly torn apart, leaving an infant, August Rush (Freddie Highmore), orphaned by circumstance. Eleven years later, August leaves the orphanage in which he is raised to find his birth parents. Along the way, and with the help of several caring strangers, he discovers a remarkable musical gift he believes to be the key to bringing his family together.
Billed as a “music-driven fantasy,” the film seems to be in the same vein of the musically-driven, yet not quite full-blown musical, Once. “Rush” is loaded with talent on both sides of the camera and in addition to Highmore, Russell and Meyers, the cast includes all-stars Robin Williams and Terrence Howard. Behind the camera is semi-newcomer Kirsten Sheridan, best known for co-writing 2004’s In America. In charge of the film’s heavy music load are award-winning composers Hans Zimmer and Mark Mancina, as well as legendary music producer Phil Ramone, who produced three of the music tracks in the film.
Based on the 30 minutes of footage and behind-the-scenes cast interviews we were shown, “Rush” looks to have massive general audience appeal. That and Freddie Highmore’s place in the title role easily cancels out our misgivings about the potentially maudlin red flags. We should also mention that all three of the main actors actually play their respective musical instruments on camera – Rhys Meyers even does his own singing. (Phil Ramone confessed he initially thought they were going to have to dub over Meyers with a professional, but rescinded the thought the instant he heard Meyers sing.) And watch out for scene-stealing newcomer Jamia Simone Nash, whose powerful pipes and spunky church choir girl turned August’s unlikely music tutor had everyone at the screening talking.
As long as the studio keeps the running time at the estimated two-hour mark and they steer clear from cheesy melodramatics, August Rush might be the perfect blend of feel-good fantasy to stand-out among the more serious and dramatic fare that dominate the fall movie season.
August Rush hits theaters October 19.