Honkytonk Man Review

Such a harrowing impact the Great Depression had on America; it is hard to forget how many suffered during this time, and how few are willing to adapt it to the big screen. The fallout of the Roaring 20s and the later stages of the American Dream and its slow demise are picked apart with glee and fascinatingly diverse results. Honkytonk Man has no desire to look forward to the future or reflect on the past, it hits itself deep down into the rut millions of Americans found themselves in during the 1930s. Clint Eastwood drags his son, Kyle Eastwood, into the mixture of anguished singers and the throes of agony that the Great Depression formed.  

He is up to the task, though. Eastwood and Eastwood make for an inevitably strong pairing. Their work here displays a relationship between an uncle and nephew. Either way, nepotism is lingering around their relationship, and rightly so. Whit (Kyle Eastwood) and Red (Eastwood) are formidably well-written characters, and they lend themselves well to the aesthetics of the time. Sombre harmonicas, dusty roads that engulf farms and cars crashing into old wind turbines made of splintered wood. The attitudes of the time have diminished the anger, instead, there is a simple confusion in its place as Uncle Red slumps out of his car, drunk as anyone else during these trying times. 

It is that test that Eastwood wishes to control and understand within Honkytonk Man. The legalisation of alcohol in American concurred with a time of great dismay for its people. A need for a sedative was identified and latched to. Red symbolises that well. The reaction to the Wall Street crash and immediate shift in cultural tone is magnificently well handled, and the inclusion of Eastwood’s son allows Honkytonk Man to make a larger discrepancy for old tones and new mechanisms of survival. Desperate times call for desperate measures. Eastwood finds himself at just the right age to direct this. He still has his youthful look about him, but the strained lines streaking his forehead and the constant coughing and drinking showcase the mentality of the 1930s. He is a man out of time, desperately clinging to this dream of winning the Grand Ole Opry. 

Whether or not that ever happened for Red is inconsequential. Like many road trip stylings, the journey is far more important than the outcome. Hopefully, the characters learn that much on their way from Point A to Point B. There is spiritual effectiveness within Honkytonk Man that sparks up moments of real innovation from Eastwood. He is not one to shy away from the eventful proceedings of a generation that never had it worse. They suffered and toiled and watched their dreams ebb away. Such a pursuit, one of dreams and making it big, is a pipe dream for many, and a bulky impossibility for those trying to live through the harsh realities of the 1930s. Eastwood understands that, and Honkytonk Man focuses as much on the relationship and importance of family as it does the test of willpower in extremely tough times.  

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