Through happenstance, Sam discovers a box of his son’s recorded songs. He listens to them and begins to learn them, eventually working up the courage to play one of them at an open mic in a local dive bar.
Sam catches the attention of Quentin (played by Anton Yelchin) who is about the same age as Sam’s son would have been. Quentin is a local small-time musician and is duly impressed with the song Sam had played. Quentin wants Sam to form a band, and after some considerable pestering, Sam relents. Soon after, two more musicians join the band, which achieves some local success playing the songs written by Sam’s deceased son. Unfortunately, Sam does not initially inform his band members of the source of the songs.
A startling revelation in latter third of the movie forces the viewer to look at the circumstances of Sam, his son, and Quentin in a different light. The revelation darkens the tone of an otherwise uplifting movie about a father coming to grips with the death of his son.
Rudderless is the first film directed by William H. Macy (who also as a small supporting role in the movie). A stunning debut, and hints at great things to come.
The songs in the movie stand out; they are catchy, funny and poignant, sometimes all at once. Crudup and Yelchin give credible musical performances.
Rounding out the cast is Laurence Fishburne as a music-store owner.
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Worth a look if you like movies about music.
Skip it if school shootings upset you.