What movie was that...?

18 March 2010

White Lightnin'

directed by Dominic Murphy

Remember Eddy Moretti? Remember, when I reviewed the great doc, Heavy Metal in Baghdad? Just go check it out, but be sure not to miss a new film penned by Moretti and Shane Smith, a film that boils under all the fire and brimstone the duo can muster. White Lightnin’ (not to be confused with the magnificent Burt Reynolds hillbilly classic, White Lightning) tells the tale of one Jesco White, whose daddy D Ray was one of the best mountain dancers in the land (this much is true). But poor Jesco has had problems his whole life, including a gas huffing addiction and predilection for violence that land him in various institutions. When his daddy gets killed and Jess gets released from a psychiatric hospital, he struggles to find a balance between his goal of a happy life and the ghosts that torment him. Loosely based, and I mean looooosely based, on Jesco White’s real life, Moretti and Smith seek to understand the wrathful God of the American South, with mixed results. As I watched Edward Hogg nail, and I mean naaiiil, the crazed Appalachian strut of Jesco, I felt the raw power of mountain faith, much as I did in the stellar doc, Searching for the Wrong Eyed Jesus. Hogg deserves top marks for his amazing turn in a role that I’m not sure anyone else could have done proper justice. Who’d have thought that would take a Brit to do a good West Virginian (I only heard that accent crack once, in the hospital sequence. Nice work, Mr. H)? Smith and Moretti, however, aim for a target that they only sort of hit. And I know what you were trying to invoke with the title, guys, but I didn’t see any White Lightning in that whole film.

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