Lackawanna Blues

Lackawanna Blues (2005)
HBO Home Video
Cast: S. Epatha Merkerson, Marcus Carl Franklin, Mos Def, Carmen Ejogo, Louis Gossett Jr., Macy Gray, Terrence Dashon Howard
Extras: Commentary Track, Deleted Scene, Featurette

The true telling of Rachel "Nanny" Crosby (S. Epatha Merkerson), a truly awe-inspiring individual who would give everything she had to help others, even giving up rooms in her home, to become a virtual "mother of the community", in the film "Lackawanna Blues". During the times of segregation in upstate New York, if you were down on your luck and you needed somewhere to go, the place to be was at "Nanny's" for her token "Friday night fish fry" where you were surrounded by great music, terrific food and lots of laughter and love, a place where you could forget your troubles, at least for a little while.

Told mostly through flashbacks by an adult Reuben (Hill Harper), the story focuses on young Reuben, also known as "Junior" (Marcus Carl Franklin) growing up under the care of Rachel as the two develop a mother and son type of bond, while his biological parents remain mostly absent from his life. Living at Rachel's home has more than its share of colorful characters too, that all seem to have a story to tell, especially to young and impressionable Reuben that only serve to enrich his childhood.

Superbly written with extraordinary performances throughout help bring this truly beautiful film to life, which is sure to tug at your heart-strings.

HBO Home Entertainment presents "Lackawanna Blues" in a superb looking anamorphic transfer that showcases the truly special film at hand. Black levels were rich and deep exhibiting spectacular shadow detail. Color saturation was equally impressive, displaying naturally appearing flesh tones and highlighting various bursts of rich color, like the many distinctive dresses worn by women on the dance floor. There was virtually nothing irregular noticed with the transfer of this film, as the presentation exhibited no visible forms of compression or dust particles.

The soundtrack for "Lackawanna Blues" is presented in a nicely mixed Dolby Digital 5.1 track that truly flaunts the terrific rhythm and blues inspired music, which flavors this film. Naturally reproduced dialogue with absorbing sounds of music that are well balanced to utilize all available channels, including good use of the lower frequency .1 channel, complete this wonderful cinematic experience.

Special features include; an audio commentary with director George C. Wolfe and Reuben Santiago-Hudson, a deleted scene and a "Lackawanna Blues" featurette.

There are few special films that come along and truly inspire, and "Lackawanna Blues" is at the top of that class!