Rudderless – A shining directorial debut for William H. Macy
Written by: Casey Twenter, Jeff Robison, and William H. Macy
Directed by: William H. Macy
Starring: Billy Crudup, Anton Yelchin, Felicity Huffman, Selena Gomez, and Laurence Fishburne
Sam (Crudup) has lost control of his life, while grieving the death of his son in a horrible school shooting. He lives a reclusive existence living on a boat, working a house painting job, and drinking his nights away. When his ex-wife Emily (Huffman) brings him a car load of his son’s belongings, he discovers a box of CDs full of songs recorded by Josh. After meeting a local guitarist (Yelchin) he is convinced to form a band and play the songs. This brings about not only difficult emotions, but some shocking revelations as well.
I am just going to start by saying that this film is amazing on all levels! It has great performances, a powerful story that asks it’s audience to answer difficult questions on how they feel about the subject matter, and beautiful (dare I say universally appealing) music. What more could you ask of a directorial debut?! The music, along with the chemistry between Crudup and Yelchin are what really put “Rudderless” over the top for me. Crudup is no stranger to musical performances on film and he is at the top of his game here giving perhaps his best showing since “Almost Famous”. Yelchin is also surprisingly great on the musical end, and portrays Quentin with an awkward tenderness that works perfectly with Crudup’s Sam.
Their story gives a soft outer layer to a film that at it’s core is heartbreaking. Sam, Emily, and Josh’s girlfriend Kate (Selena Gomez) are all trying to find some way to just feel normal again. Each of them try drastically different approaches, and if you watch the film you will undoubtedly relate to one of them. School shootings are an all too real tragedy that have taken innocent lives, and destroyed ones that are left behind. But, unlike other films that have tackled that subject matter, “Rudderless” steers away from being overly political and never even comes close to preachy.
I highly recommend this movie to all. Good story, great acting, amazing music, and a powerfully emotional result. Watch it!