White Lightning, Gator McKlusky who’s serving time in an Arkansas prison, finds out his younger brother is murdered by the corrupt town Sheriff J.C Connors. Wanting revenge, he agrees with the terms of going undercover as a moonshine runner for the feds and informing them of any important information to put away Connors. However it’s Gator’s personal quest of his brother’s death, which pushes him to test the boundaries and power that Connors owns.
Quite likable, and truly a thick southern slice of crudely good ol’ fun and rousing mishaps. Burt Reynolds’ charismatic appeal was specially made for the part, and along side him is a terrifically well-served cast including the despicable Ned Betty, glorious Jennifer Billingsley, amusing Bo Hopkins, twitchy Matt Clark, live wire Diane Ladd and a rigid R.G Armstrong. Splendid line-up, but Reynolds was the real scene-stealer. The story might be a simple revenge tale with some currents involving racism and narrow-mindlessness, but it’s a exhilarating pot boiler that’s neatly drawn up with plenty of flesh hanging off it, and its zips onto one scene after another with burning conviction. Look out for an enjoyable reference to Don Siegel/Clint Eastwood’s southern thriller “The Beguiled (1971)”. The authenticity of the sweaty southern setting is beautifully captured with Edward Rosson’s sharp photography doing the trick. Be it during the quiet moments, or the well-engineered, gut-busting brawls and blistering car chases. Even Charles Bernstein’s wonderfully flavoured and titillating music arrangement dominates and goes a long way to cementing the film’s potent personality. Director Joseph Sargent rapidly, rough n’ tumble style, goes down well the tautly wry script and delivers the action with the right intensity. Amongst the tough suspense and sweet fooling, there are some genuinely moving scenes. White Lightning
Always compelling, and one of Reynolds best performances.