The Soloist with Robert Downey Jr & Jamie Foxx Hits DVD and Blu-Ray
A true to life story of a newspaper reporter/columnist befriending a musically gifted homeless man hit theaters last holiday season to mixed reviews. Perhaps not quite the season, or perhaps a bit uneven in direction, The Soloist delivers powerful performances by Downey and Foxx nails down the strange complexities of a schizophrenic musical genius who plays beautifully despite having only two strings on his violin.
What’s unique about this film is that the story is real life for Steve Lopez and Nathaniel Ayers who bond via a chance meeting on the streets of LA’s skid row. Lopez , a noted (and thankfully still employed) reporter/columnist for the LA Times has been a noted reporter on life on the streets of LA and more specifically on Skid Row. His series of columns on Skid Row helped him meet Ayers and eventually Ayers became a focal point of his columns as Lopez reported on the evolution of the relationship with Ayers and trying to help him get treatment and also use his musical talents to allow him to improve mental, emotional and physical situation. Those columns eventually morphed into a book which this movie is based (somewhat loosely) upon.
While Downey is good and even spectacular in his role, the movie sometimes revolves like a spinning 8 ball on who is the focus of this movie. Sometimes it’s Ayers played by Foxx who gets his role down solidly most of the time but at others seems to be disconnected from the situation. Maybe that’s just Ayers’ situation speaking through Foxx, but it’s hard to say.
There is a lot of social commentary in this movie and I wish the director had decided before he started shooting if this was going to be a strict drama of 2 men and how they affect each other (and Lopez’s Times colleague in the film nails Lopez for “using” Ayers to boost his career) or if it’s to be about life on the streets of LA as depicted broadly and featuring bits and pieces about Ayers and Lopez.
No matter what you like or dislike about this film, it’s a great film to watch– if simply to see Robert Downey Jr perform and some good scenes with other people interacting with Foxx as Ayers including his sister who is played by LisaGay Hamilton
The Soloist DVD clip.
THE SOLOIST DVD and Blu-ray presentations include commentary by director Joe Wright (Atonement, Pride & Prejudice),
“An Unlikely Friendship: Making The Soloist”,
“Kindness, Courtesy and Respect: Mr. Ayers + Mr. Lopez”,
“One Size Does Not Fit All: Addressing Homelessness in Los Angeles”
and deleted scenes.
The Blu-ray also includes a piece titled “Juilliard: The Education of Nathaniel Ayers“.
THE SOLOIST DVD & Blu-ray
THE SOLOIST DVD is presented in widescreen enhanced for 16:9 TVs with Dolby Digital English 5.1 Surround, French 5.1 Surround and Spanish 5.1 Surround and English, French and Spanish subtitles.
The Blu-ray disc is presented in 1080p high definition with English 5.1 TrueHD, French 5.1 Dolby Digital and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital and English, English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles. The discs include the following special features in high definition on the Blu-ray as noted:
• An Unlikely Friendship: Making The Soloist (HD)
• Deleted Scenes
• Kindness, Courtesy and Respect: Mr. Ayers + Mr. Lopez (HD)
• One Size Does Not Fit All: Addressing Homelessness in Los Angeles (HD)
• Beth’s Story
• Commentary by director Joe Wright
• Theatrical Trailer (HD)–Blu-ray only
• Juilliard: The Education of Nathaniel Ayers (HD)–Blu-ray only
The Soloist is out in stores now including all mass merchants and amazon.com