A shockingly lifeless outing by pedant/filmmaker John Sayles. It’s 1950, and Alabama saloon owner and former bluesman Tyrone “Pine Top” Purvis is on the verge of losing his business. If legendary electric bluesman Guitar Sam gets to town, everything will be OK, but there’s a good chance he won’t make it! Meanwhile, in a completely unrelated plot point, a young drifter looking for a break wanders into town … carrying an electric guitar! In this incredibly formulaic tale, the acting talents of Charles S. Dutton, Stacy Keach, Danny Glover and newcomer Gary Clark Jr. are wasted on some of the stiffest dialogue this side of a John Kerry speech. If Sayles were a little more interested in filmmaking and a little less interested in giving a civics lesson, he could have had something with this. As it is, the entire movie is probably best condensed into a short op-ed piece.


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