A portrait of contemporary American life, as seen through the eyes of long-haul truck drivers.

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A portrait of contemporary American life, as seen through the eyes of long-haul truck drivers.

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3 June 2008 (USA)  »

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In the opening shot of a storm, the sound from every lightning strike in the distance is heard immediately, rather than delayed as it would be if one were actually watching such a storm in person. See more »

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A Beautiful film about a Under-appreciated Group
17 March 2007 | by (Austin, TX, United States) – See all my reviews

Big Rig screened this week at the SXSW Film Festival in Austin, TX where it was very well-received. Big Rig is an entertaining and very personnel look at truckers that attempts to counter the many negative stereotypes that Americans have about truckers. The film acts to humanize this group that most Americans know little about. The cinematography of the American landscape as viewed from trucks driving across America is quite beautiful. This is backed up by an entertaining soundtrack. The truckers interviewed are often quirky characters who come off as much smarter and reflective than most of us would expect.

In the film, we see a great variety of truckers of different backgrounds, races, personalities, ages, and politics. The film also includes several female truckers and talks about the difficulties that they face in a male-dominated world. The focus is mostly on who the truckers are, why they do what they do, and the difficulties that they face (rising gas prices, time away from their families, government regulation, etc.). The film also tries to show us how crucial and under-appreciated the role of trucking is in our national economy.

The only real weakness is that by only telling the story entirely from the truckers' perspective, they provide a portrait that is almost entirely sympathetic and essentially uncritical. They never speak to any consumer advocates or critics of trucking industry, for example. They don't discuss many of the problems that truckers cause for the roads, other motorists, or the environment. They don't really explore much about trucking industry and its faults. The view is more personal and in this case that's mostly a positive. The film is charming and scenic view of an under-appreciated American subculture that is in many ways the unseen backbone of much of the American economy.


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