William H. Macy, the acclaimed award winning actor from such films as ‘Fargo’ and ‘Boogie Nights,’ as well as the successful Showtime series ‘Shameless,’ has entered into the directing fray with ‘Rudderless,’ his first feature behind the lens. A favorite at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, the indie effort tells the story of a successful advertising executive (Billy Crudup) whose life takes a tragic turn when his son is killed during an on-campus college shooting spree. Escaping to a drunken existence on a houseboat, he shuns the world. When he discovers a box filled with his boy’s song demos, he instantly recognizes a chance to reconnect.
Learning to play the tunes and performing them live, he begins to struggle with the memory of his kid. He also comes in contact with a wannabe musician (Anton Yelchin) who loves what he hears. Soon they partner up and together become quite popular. As you can see by the trailer below, a lot of this material comes across as patently obvious. Hopefully, Macy can bring out some nuances in what so far looks like a pretty standard storyline. Take a look:
Like I said, maybe it’s the marketing team. Every beat here seems to be telegraphed, from Crudup going from slick modern Mad Man to rough and rung out rummy to the sequences where co-star Felicity Huffman yells at him to “accept” things. The presence of Laurence Fishburne and Selena Gomez is interesting, and again, Macy is an amazing actor. Hopefully, some of his magic rubs off on his cast. Samuel Goldwyn Films will be releasing ‘Rudderless’ (even the metaphoric title announces the intentions) this October. Hopefully there’s more to it than what’s already here.