The Soloist

Los Angeles Times newspaper columnist Steve Lopez (Robert Downey Jr.) discovers a brilliant but homeless street musician (Jamie Foxx) with a Julliard education. The man clearly has some psychological issues, but a unique bond of friendship develops between the two men that transforms both of their lives.

The performances by Foxx and Downey Jr. are adequate, but they can't seem to overcome the tedious screenplay. The video quality is solid—although not demo worthy—but the sound design is exceptional and features an outstanding Dolby TrueHD soundtrack.

A two-string violin?

  • Chapter 2, 0:08:29
  • Imaging
  • This scene exhibits phenomenal imaging as Steve Lopez (Downey Jr.) meets Nathaniel (Foxx), who's playing a violin sans two of its strings. As Steve approaches Nathaniel, the music moves from speaker to speaker until it becomes firmly rooted in the front.

Downtown LA

  • Chapter 8, 0:36:22
  • Audio dynamics, imaging
  • As Steve travels to the homeless shelter in downtown LA, listen to the sounds of the street come alive, even while the music takes precedence in the scene—in the background, you'll hear heated arguments as if you were in the neighborhood.

Disney Concert Hall

  • Chapter 12, 0:59:39
  • Audio dynamics, frequency range, imaging
  • As the concert hall fills with the rhythmic sounds of Four Billion Years by Dario Marianelli, the camera focuses on Nathaniel's chest, capturing the beating of his heart to illustrate how the music moves him. This is my favorite scene in the film and makes it worth checking out.

Release Date: August 4, 2009
Studio: Paramount

Movie: 6/10
Picture: 8/10
Sound: 9/10