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Big Rig (DVD Review)

4 May, 2008 By: Pete Croatto

Prebook 5/6/08; Street 6/3/08
Screen Media
$24.98 DVD
Not rated.

Veteran documentary filmmaker Doug Pray (Scratch, Infamy) turns his attention to America's truck drivers with Big Rig, an insightful look at the overlooked and overworked men and women who keep the country thriving.

Pray interviews countless truckers, spending quality time with a dozen of them from across the country. Some fascinating profiles emerge.

There's Loretta, who went from being homeless to meeting her husband at trucking school. The two now drive as a team to save their rocky marriage.

Willy pimps his rig to attract the attention of the ladies. Doug, recently fitted with a prosthetic hand, got closer to God after his accident and now believes that the apocalypse is imminent.

Hookers and truck drivers, we discover, get along well because they're both stigmatized. Plus, they're both stuck in the same places.

In talking to the truckers and uncovering their doubts (high gas prices, public indifference, the increase in competition), Pray offers a stark contrast to the so-called freedom of the road as well as an opinion on America from the people who see all of it.

By delving into the truckers' political meditations, Big Rig gets repetitive and misses some possibilities. How do the drivers combat loneliness and fatigue? How do their families cope with the drivers' extended absences? What's driving school like for a student truck driver? Pray offers a glimpse at one school that begs for more attention.

Well-edited, perceptive, and full of gorgeous, atmospheric photography of America's urban and bucolic nooks and crannies, Big Rig will appeal to anyone craving an alternate take on the state of the union. DVD extras include a director's commentary, “safety tips for 4-wheelers,” and a look behind the scenes.

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