White Lightnin’

WHITE LIGHTNIN', from left: Carrie Fisher, Edward Hogg as Jesco White, 2009. ©IFC Films

A very old friend of mine (Dom Murphy) directed White Lightnin’ from 2009. I haven’t seen Dom in many years but he was one of the first people to get me interested in Stanley Kubrick in a serious way, and I understand that he’s made a really good career directing big budget adverts for major brands.

White Lightnin’ is a small low budget film, but visually it’s smashing. Some of the photography and camera work looks better than films with ten times the budget. Also, unlike many low budget films there was no scrimping on script either, which is by turns disturbing and interesting.

Performance wise Carrie Fisher is great and Edward Hogg turns in a fab bit of method acting madness. The story loosely follows the life of the ‘dancing outlaw’ Jesco White, and this is a part of America rarely seen in mainstream films.

Towards the end of the film it builds up to a nightmare crescendo that leaves the viewer with some images burned into the brain. This isn’t an easy film to watch (my wife hated it), but for fans of real cinematic art this is a bit of a rare treat.

And also, if you’re reading this Dom, I spotted a couple of knowing nods to Stanley in there too.

So, 25 films to go…

Matthew Cooper has written for Emmerdale, Eastenders, Hollyoaks and Family Affairs. He was winner of the first ever Lloyds Bank Channel Four Film Challenge and the Oscar Moore Screenplay Prize. His first short film starred a then unknown Ewan McGregor and was picked up by Channel Four when Matthew was 19 years old. He’s been a script writer for hire, filmmaker for hire and script consultant for over 20 years.