Thursday, June 07, 2007

Redneck County (a.k.a. The Great Lester Boggs)

Harry Thomason | 1975 | 94 min | USA

There’s only one thing you need to know about Redneck County: it makes no sense whatsoever, and that fact doesn’t matter at all.

The film nominally follows a handsome wanderer named Malcolm as he embarks on an odyssey through the back roads of Arkansas. Malcolm quickly acquires a sidekick named Leroy, a young black man who he rescues from racist biker thugs, falls in love with a random farm girl and gets embroiled with Lester Boggs, a jolly bi-plane pilot / good old boy whose near incomprehensible rambling monologues dominate about two thirds of the film.

However, the murky, obscure plot and genuinely hard-to-make-out dialogue are secondary to this film’s mindblowing anti-narrative. I’m not even sure that it can be ‘followed’ in any traditional sense. It’s like the free-jazz improv show of movies. Let it wash over you like a cool sax solo and maybe it will start to make sense. Despite some convincing evidence that this is truly a bad film, I can’t bring myself to call it that because I can’t shake the suspicion that I’m just not intense enough to ‘get’ it.

Besides, it’s worth renting for the opening sequence alone – a slapstick motorcycle chase in which a gang of riders hit a hay truck, a woman carrying large bags of groceries and two men carrying a large pane of glass in quick succession. The director of this gem went on to make a bunch of political videos and retrospectives about Bill Clinton’s reign. Think about it.

No comments: