Acting half as a musical documentary and half as a series of live music videos, Big Easy Express shows the tour of Old Crow Medicine Show, Edward Sharp and the Magnetic Zero's and Mumford & Sons journey across the US on a train in which they have all to themselves. To say that the film is shot beautifully would be an understatement, candid as if the members of the bands don't even realize they are there at all. Director Emmet Malloy use of black and white, coffee stained filters, and scenes of the classically beautiful American mid west landscape and the old rusty train and contrasts them with the various modern cities they visit, perfectly encapsulates the contemporary folk sound of each of the bands.
Perhaps the films only flaw, if you can even call it that, is that there's too much music. By that I mean in the one hour length of the movie there are probably more than a dozen songs played. What I'm getting at is that there is far too little interviews and insight into the musicians themselves, and when it is done it feels kinda forced. Although as I continue to think about the movie, that's what also makes the movie great and unique in a way. As the movie goes on each of the members grow on you, you begin to realize that they are actually very different types of people but always smile as they play a song and it seems like they have been playing with each other for decades. The insights which are lost in the lack of interviews are gained in a much more definite and poignant way through the minute details you pick up as you practically live the journey with them.
More than anything the film is a showcase of some of the best contemporary folk/bluegrass/acoustic music of our time. Whether its Alex Ebert's voice, Marcus Mumford's charm or Jade Castrinos quirkiness, this is a truly great film which stays true to the music, the performers and their performances.
Big Easy Express
Documentary / Musical
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1 hr 6 min