Can you see....

Monday, February 22, 2010

White Lightnin’ strikes!

The world is a terrible place and White Lightnin’ lets you have no qualms about it. This is a disfigured tale of downfall and redemption. A life biased by personal beliefs of good and evil, concepts which are eternally transient, ever changing and flipping in duality. The film very lucidly erases the thin line between the two.
Set in the American Midwest, Jescoe White is a by product of the typical white trash cliché. An out and out rebel, this maverick spends his childhood in and out of reform homes for his recurrent drug abuse. The horrendous experiences at the reprimand homes expose his violent streak and tarnish his impressionable mind beyond any reform.
Jesse is addicted to huffing gasoline which later leads to alcohol and drug abuse. This delusional junkie lets life pass him by in a hazy hallucination. On release from a mental asylum, Jesse is met with news of the senseless death of his father. The shock of this revelation is the turning point in his life. He gives up all his vices and takes to dancing in different towns. It is pitiful to watch him grapple with a clean, sober life, but his past has scarred his mind beyond repair.  His failed attempts towards a better life push him further into the vortex of abuse. With every needle prick or a swig of alcohol he becomes increasingly delusional, filling him with hate and revenge. Disturbing and downright repulsive, the audience feels a conflict between pity and disgust.
One very vehemently anticipates the downfall of the protagonist and that is what eventually transpires. His fervent and fanatical religiousness leads to self destruction. His end is equally evangelical, where he seeks redemption by chopping off his organs and feeding on them.
The colors in the film look washed out which very aptly sets the visual tone of the film. The soundtrack and background score are the high points of the film and they contribute beautifully to create a cohesive flavour of dismay. The film is divided into short sequences akin to passages of the Bible. One is subjected to a very poignant use of passages from the Bible due to the circumstances they pertain to.
Personally, White Lightnin’ has been one of the most difficult films to watch.  The feeling of impending doom is tough to shake off. It is very convincingly depressing and grossly satirical at the same time. Finally one realizes that Jesse can be anyone, from anywhere, his life a mirror revealing our unending battle with our own personal demons.

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