A perfect example of everything wrong about Hollywood films, "August Rush" is an obstinately perverse, hammy piece of instant-gratification cinema that weeps from the screen as so much emotional sludge.
Young Evan Taylor (Freddie Highmore) braves an orphanage existence with the abstract knowledge that he will eventually attract the attention of his biological parents if only he can compose, conduct and perform a piece of music that will harmonically draw them to him.
Evan seems more touched in the head than in the ear when he runs away from the orphanage to Manhattan where he takes up residence with a freak of nature named the Wizard (Robin Williams) who runs a squatter’s music school for young runaways.
Williams stinks up the movie with his signature range of character tics that are all the more disturbing for their violent subtext. Milquetoast Keri Russell and Jonathan Rhys Meyers play Evan’s ever-youthful parents Lyla and Louis who are torn apart by Lyla’s cruel father (William Sadler).
Rated PG, 133 mins. (D) (One star — out of five / no halves)
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