Friday, 16 February 2018

White Lightning (1973)

Gator McKlusky is doing time for running moonshine when word comes that his younger brother - smart, studying at college, and not involved in anything illegal - has been murdered.  McKlusky is willing to do anything to strike back at the men who killed his kin: even make a deal with the authorities and betray his fellow whiskey-runners if it means he can get revenge on the corrupt Sheriff who ordered his brother's death.

Of course, the Sheriff hasn't successfully overseen a major booze-smuggling operation and all around circle of corruption without learning a few tricks about how the world works, and he's not going to readily accept the newcomer in town when his contacts are telling him that the Feds have his organisation in their sights.

Neither side will pull any punches as the wily sheriff and the vengeful ex-con face off.  There'll be gunfights, fisticuffs and car chases aplenty, along with all the consequential damage those sort of things cause.

The first thing I'll say about White Lightning is that it's probably not a good idea to think of Gator as "the good guy" here.  This is not a film that has "good guys", really.  Some people are worse than others, but at the end of the day almost everyone in the film is self-centered and out for their own interests.  Gator is a liar and a philanderer, for instance, and given the choice between hurting an enemy and helping a friend, you can be pretty sure he will plump for column A every time.  He's the hero of the piece only in comparison to the people he's up against.

If slightly-sleazy 1970s anti-heroes are your bag, this is probably worth your time.  Otherwise, I think there are plenty of better action movie alternatives out there.

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