From Oscar® nominated director, John Sayles, comes an electrifying and vivid rock 'n' roll fable. When Tyrone, owner of the Honeydripper lounge, is faced with having to shut down his juke joint, his hopes rest on one manthe famous Guitar Sam. It's a make or break weekend for the Honeydripper, this better be some Saturday night!
With exquisite performances by Danny Glover, Charles S. Dutton, Stacy Keach, Mary Steenburgen and Sean Patrick Thomas; and featuring musicians Keb' Mo' and Dr. Mable JohnHoneydripper is an award winning film, full of great music and plenty of soul.
Music has often played a significant part in John Sayles' stories, but in Honeydripper
it largely is
the story, as the veteran writer-directors 2007 film depicts a significant (if mythical) turning point when the past reluctantly gave way to the future. The year is 1950. In the somewhat ironically-named town of Harmony, Alabama, old school blues pianist Tyrone "Pinetop" Purvis (Danny Glover) and his funky roadhouse, the Honeydripper, are on the skids, rapidly losing customers to the joint next door, where young people are flocking to hear more modern sounds. Against his better judgment, Pinetop dismisses his dignified but out-of-date singer (played by Dr. Mable John, one of the several real musicians who lend the film considerable authenticity) and books "New Orleans sensation" Guitar Sam, hoping to save his club from foreclosure. But Guitar Sam proves to be as elusive as Godot, and as the big night approaches, Pinetop is running out of ideas. Enter young Sonny Blake (Gary Clark Jr.), who ambles into town with his newfangled, self-constructed electric guitar and proceeds to rock the house with a style that suggests a combination of T-Bone Walker and Chuck Berry and effectively ushers in the rock 'n' roll era. Story-wise, that's about it. This is a character-driven film, and there are a lot of good ones, including Lisa Gay Hamilton as Tyrones conflicted wife, Charles Dutton as his partner, and Stacey Keach as the corrupt local lawman. It's also a film loaded with metaphors and symbols, including the electric guitar as the dividing line between old and new and blues musician Keb' Mo' as a kind of one-man Greek chorus, dispensing homilies before disappearing into the shadows. The pace is leisurely, the dialogue colorful, and Sayles (who not only edited the film but has a small acting role as well) once again shows himself to be a modest master at creating movies for those looking for good, no-frills entertainment. A 30-minute making-of featurette and cast interviews are the principal bonus features. --Sam Graham