A Review of Big Easy Express
Big Easy Express is a documentary on the extraordinary journey of three bands touring the US by train from Oakland to New Orleans.
Indie folk heroes Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, Tennessee’s Old Crow Medicine Show, and Britain’s acclaimed Mumford & Sons, climbed aboard a beautiful vintage train in California, setting out for New Orleans, Louisiana on a “tour of dreams”. The resulting film from this journey is nothing short of magical.
The film was shot by Emmett Malloy (THE WHITE STRIPES UNDER GREAT WHITE NORTHERN LIGHTS), who created a sentimental look behind the scenes of a synergetic group of souls sharing their passion for music.
From the cinematic shots captured across the backbone of the American South, to the random mixture of stops in cities I’ve never even heard of, to the rugged style it was shot in, the film resonates, as if a moment captured in time.
These bands kicked ass on stage night after night, only to get back on the train and play music till the next morning. It’s inspiring to watch their genuine enjoyment for their craft, written across their sweaty brow throughout the film as they play tune after tune.
It was a life-changing experience and a rather large undertaking, the musicians tell Rolling Stone: “I mean, it’s a lot to hire a train,” says the Medicine Show’s Gill Landry.
Malloy catches most of these moments with a single camera, handheld with no shame for sudden exposure changes, focus pulls, shakiness, or even natural obstacles. The editing follows suit, working with what they have to chop up a raw, in your face, time capsule of an instrumental journey for everyone involved. This style perfectly accentuates the mood of the film, and leaves you feeling as if you were cruising across the country with them.