Billy Crudup a Haunted Soul in "Rudderless"
By Skip Sheffield
In brief, “Rudderless” is playing in only one venue, the Tower Theater in Miami, but this directorial debut by actor William H. Macy is now available by Video on Demand (VOD) if you so desire.
Billy Crudup plays Sam Penning, a high-powered advertising executive whose life blows up when his estranged son Josh (Miles Heizer) inexplicably goes on a rampage, murdering six fellow students at Central Plains State University. Sam immediately starts drowning his sorrows in alcohol. Divorced from his wife Emily (Felicity Huffman) he buys a sailboat and lives aboard, staying drunk most of the time. Sam hits the bottom of the barrel when he is fired from his menial house-painting job. When Emily dumps a load of his son’s effects on him, he discovers a number of CDs with really promising songs. He starts playing his son’s guitar and singing his songs. At the urging of young local musician Quentin (Anton Yelchin), Sam plays at a bar’s open mic night. Quentin enlists some other boys, and soon a full band is playing Josh Penning’s songs to local acclaim. With the help of a local music shop owner (Laurence Fisburne) the band seems poised to tour professionally, but when Josh’s old girlfriend (Selena Gomez) shows up, the gig is up.
Crudup shows what a fine actor he is, and Macy, who plays a small part, shows impressive directorial chops. It doesn’t hurt that co-star Felicity Huffman is his wife. As a struggling musician myself, I found “Rudderless” quite pertinent.