1950. Rural Alabama. Cotton harvest. It's a make-or-break weekend for the Honeydripper Lounge and its owner, piano player Tyrone "Pine Top" Purvis. Deep in debt to the liquor man, the chicken man, and the landlord, Tyrone is desperate to lure the young cotton pickers and local Army base recruits into his juke joint, away from Touissant's, the rival joint across the way. After laying off his regular talent, blues singer Bertha Mae, Tyrone announces to his sidekick Maceo that he has hired the famous electric guitar player, Guitar Sam, for a special one night only gig: pack em in and save the club. On the day of the show, the train arrives and Guitar Sam is no where to be found. Tyrone is forced to take drastic action. He makes a deal with Sheriff Pugh to release Sonny, the kid who hopped off a freight car here in Harmony, and turned up in the club claiming he could play the guitar as well as any Guitar Sam. Tyrone cleans Sonny up and launches a last ditch scheme to pass off the young guitar picker as Guitar Sam just long enough to cut the lights and run off with cash box. When Sonny takes the stage and launches into his first scalding electric licks, Tyrone will learn if it's lights out for the Honeydripper or if his luck has changed: he might just be another man saved by rock n' roll.
Director John Sayles is known for his great ability to story-telling, just look at the man's resume,look at such films as "Lone Star" and "Limbo" and you will not disagree. Mr. Sayles does it again with Honeydripper, sure it's about a black man trying to save his place and keep his business going but it's about family as well and the hardships the black man had in Alabama during the 50's.The story is simple yet the film has complex characters, take Tyrone and his wife Delilah for example, these two people couldn't be further apart in beliefs but at the same time they compliment each other perfectly. It's the character like this that are an important part of making this film what it is. The cast is full of all-stars and each and every actor is just brilliant here, this to me is the highlight of Danny Glover's career and that saying a lot since he has been in many very good films. The film deals with the social problems of the time but lets not forget about the other driving force here, the music, music may be Honeydripper's most important element and Sayles and longtime collaborator, composer Mason Daring, came up with several original songs alongside the soundtrack's period tunes. All of the musical performers in the film are real musicians besides Danny Glover of course but that is what helps take Honeydripper to another level. Just when I am about to lose faith in movies today a film comes along and reminds me why I love movies so much. Director John Sayles has done that with this film, he has taken a simple story, added a some social issues and with with magnificent eye for direction has made what is easily one of the best films of the year. Come Oscar time Honeydripper should be right up there fighting the best picture of the year. A fantastic film made by one the greatest film-makers of our time. The film is screening as we speak across the country so be sure to check it out if it's in your area by visiting the Honeydripper official site here
Released by Emerging Pictures. ***** Out Of *****