Marc Abraham - long time producer but first time writer-director - has created a duffer of a film in this godawful Hank Williams biopic. And that's no fault of Etonian Brit Tom Hiddleston, cast against type as the 1940s/50s country musician who died at age 29 after a prolific career and prolific alcohol abuse. The problem is a script and an approach to the life which reveals nothing and lumbers along at a snails-pace. Abraham decides to pick up Williams' life when he's already a misanthropic drunk, already a talented and well-rehearsed musician, and marrying his talentless wife. We get no insight into what made him an alcoholic, what attracted him to the wife, or how he learned and formed his craft. Fine. At least that clears the way for his career, you might say. But we get no real insight into how he writes his music, or any context about the music industry at the time. There might have been a narrative drive from his desire to play the Opry but it never pays off. And there's no context to the music scene at the time, the influences on Williams or the people he played with and influenced. All we have is one scene after another of him pissing off his wife and turning up late for band practice or a recording gig. It's just dull. And then the inevitable happens and he dies. Worst of all, the director interrupts this "action" with even more cack-handed fake black-and-white vintage footage of Hank's manager commenting on the action in a not particularly illuminating manner. Avoid.
I SAW THE LIGHT is rated R and is rated 123 minutes. The movie played Toronto 2015. It was released earlier this year in the USA ad Canada. It is currently on release in the UK and Ireland. It opens on June 23rd in Denmark and on October 1st in Japan.
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