Wayne, a singer, meets washed-up legend Claude Allen. Together they go to Nashville to pitch a song, but the industry rejects them. Wayne figures out how to release the song publicly, not for himself but for Claude.

Chuck says:

It would be tempting to say that with The Neon Highway, Beau Bridges is simply following in the footsteps of his brother Jeff. As his younger sibling did in “Crazy Heart,” he plays a washed-up country singer who, desperate for a comeback, finds that things in the Nashville music industry have changed radically since he was a star. Like Jeff, Beau plays a pretty good guitar, has a weary, gravely voice perfectly suited for the genre, and is wholly convincing in the role.

However, the script by Phillip Bellury and director William Wages takes Beau’s character, Claude Allen, down a different narrative road. Retired, not by choice, his path crosses with that of Wayne Collins (Rob Mayes), a songwriter who gave up his dreams of stardom after a tragic accident involving his brother and musical partner Lloyd (T. J. Power). However, financial difficulties cause him to reconsider his career choices and he allows Allen to rekindle his hopes. He plays his song, “Neon Highway” for the musician, who recognizes it as a hit upon which he can build a comeback. Agreeing on a fifty/fifty partnership, they set out to Music City, Allen promising to call in some favors from old friends to get the song recorded and on the airwaves.

The script holds its cards close to its vest as to whether Allen truly wants to help Collins or if he’s only looking out for himself. Bridges gives a crafty, cagey performance, charming one minute, not to be trusted the next. The actor employs a sense of charm and vulnerability so effectively, you understand why Collins, who seems rather savvy, could be taken in by him. From one scene to the next, I was uncertain as to Allen’s intent, which is precisely the point.

The presence of Lee Brice and Pam Tillis bring validity to the film as does the title song, a keeper that’s much better than most of the country/pop littering the airwaves today. Shooting partially in Nashville adds to the realism as do the working-class environs of Collins and his family, their financial troubles all too familiar.  All of this rings true, which makes some third-act plot machinations all the more glaring. Still, Neon is a solid low-budget effort that will resonate with many, especially those longing for a second chance to be heard, as well as viewers steeped in country music lore and the movies that have contributed to it.

3 Stars



Recent Posts
Contact Us

Chuck and Pam would love to hear from you! Send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.

Not readable? Change text. captcha txt

Start typing and press Enter to search

Stay up to date with Chuck and Pam!
Join our monthly newsletter for behind the scenes looks, special interviews, and bonus content!
We respect your privacy.