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Posts Tagged ‘“I Saw the Light’

Tom Hiddleston as Hank Williams

Tom Hiddleston as Hank Williams

“I SAW THE LIGHT” My rating: C-

123 minutes | MPAA rating: R

The Hank Williams songbook runs deep and rich, which makes the shallow ineffectiveness of “I Saw the Light” all that much more dispiriting.

Williams, of course, was the country/western genius who in the late ’40s and early ’50s produced some of popular music’s most lasting tunes (“I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry,” “Cold Cold Heart,” “Hey Good Lookin’,” “Lovesick Blues,” “Jambalaya,” “I Can’t Help It,” “Move It On Over,” Kaw-Liga”) then succumbed to drugs and alcohol, dying at age 29 in the back seat of a limousine on New Year’s Day 1953.

The story has been told cinematically once before, in “Your Cheatin’ Heart,” with Coppertone poster boy George Hamilton in the lead role. That 1964 release remains the best screen treatment of Williams’ life and music.

Going in, my hopes were high for “I Saw the Light.”

I was looking forward to seeing what Brit actor Tom Hiddleston (a scene stealer as the evil Loki in the “Thor”/Marvel franchises) could bring to the role of ¬†an iconic American country artist.

And there was hope behind the camera as well, inasmuch as writer/director Marc Abraham had helmed the solid 2008 biopic “Flash of Genius” (about the inventor of the variable-speed windshield wiper, who sued the Detroit carmakers over patent infringement) and produced films ranging from “The Commitments” to “Dawn of the Dead” and “Children of Men.”

Well, “I Saw the Light” gets the music right, though there’s not near as much of it as there could have been.

But as drama this one is dead in the water.

The major issue here is Abraham’s lack of a coherent vision. What story is he telling here? He throws around a lot of ideas but never settles on one that can carry the weight of a two-hour-plus feature film. (more…)

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