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At first, he is drawn by the opportunity to crank out another column for the Los Angeles Times, just one more item on an ever-growing to-do list: "Violin Man." But what Lopez begins to unearth about the mysterious street musicia"When Steve Lopez sees Nathaniel Ayers playing his heart out on a two-string violin on Los Angeles' Skid Row, he finds it impossible to walk away.At first, he is drawn by the opportunity to crank out another column for the Los Angeles Times, just one more item on an ever-growing to-do list: "Violin Man." But what Lopez begins to unearth about the mysterious street musician leaves an indelible impression." "More than thirty years earlier, Ayers had been a promising classical bass student at Juilliard - ambitious, charming, and one of the few African-Americans - until he gradually lost his ability to function, overcome by a mental breakdown.Yes, mental illness can be like that, but can successful drama?
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"The Soloist" doesn't even seem sure how to depict it.
Unlike Russell Crowe's mathematician in "A Beautiful Mind," whose madness was understood through his own eyes, the musician here seems more of a loose cannon, unpredictable in random ways.
Indifference about adequate care for our homeless population was one of the priorities of the Selfish Generation.
As a mentally ill man, Ayers is unpredictable and explosive, yes, but almost as if responding to the arc of the screenplay.
That is no fault of Jamie Foxx's performance creating a man who is tense, fearful, paranoid and probably schizophrenic.
We can almost smell his terror, through the carnival clown clothing and hats he hides behind.
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