Ron Livingston stars in “Music Within”
October 26, 2007
How a Hero Hears the World
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Del.icio.usDiggFacebookNewsvinePermalinkBy MATT ZOLLER SEITZ
Published: October 26, 2007
A bad movie with a good heart, ?Music Within? is a biography of Richard Pimentel (Ron Livingston), a debating champion who suffered severe hearing damage in Vietnam, then reinvented himself as an activist for the handicapped.
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Mr. Livingston sells this war hero?s patience, work ethic and independent spirit. But he fails to illuminate Mr. Pimentel?s anger and melancholy, qualities that the film credits with spurring his alcoholism, destroying his marriage to a hippie-swinger-turned-domestic-martyr named Christine (Melissa George) and fueling his greatest accomplishments (including the writing of a California State guideline for dealing with disabled job applicants, and agitating on behalf of the Americans With Disabilities Act).
The film?s sound design inventively suggests how its hero hears the world, and Mr. Pimentel?s relationships with his best friends ? Art Honneyman (Michael Sheen), a puckish man with cerebral palsy who uses a wheelchair, and Mike Stolz (Yul V?zquez), a hot-tempered, profanely funny fellow vet ? feel lived-in and real.
But the film?s direction, by Steven Sawalich, and its screenplay, credited to Bret McKinney, Mark Andrew Olsen and Kelly Kennemer, are annoyingly unimaginative. When the screen fills with shots of soldiers in helicopters scored to ?We?ve Got to Get Out of This Place,? you may be inclined to agree.