Movie Reviews from nytimes.
Suds, Southern Scenery and Fistfuls of Weaponry
Her character, Maggie, is a self-sufficient farmer living alone in rural Virginia who contemplates selling her homestead. The resolute set of her jaw and her flinty blue eyes, not to mention her comfortable old house with its lived-in furniture, evoke an inviolable solidity. At first the movie, with its richly saturated palette, seems to offer a sober yet lyrical portrait of contemporary Americana distilled in the figure of an independent woman of a certain age holding her head high.
When Maggie’s estranged, grown-up wastrel son, Billy (Troy Garity), who has been playing in a rock band in Memphis, returns unexpectedly and drags along a mysterious boy named Clayton (Colin Ford), Maggie takes them in without any fuss; questions and explanations are saved for later. Under her steady, watchful care, hearty meals are served, and the chaos of the world seems safely removed. As the camera surveys this austere country life, you prepare for a family drama that explores the possibility of restoring the luster to tarnished American dreams.
But “Lake City” soon deteriorates into a parental soap opera that plays coy games of hide and seek while dredging up a distant family tragedy for which Maggie blames herself. Even when those events are finally shown, the details are so cluttered that any sense of catharsis is lost. Billy and Clayton, who may or may not be Billy’s son, play out their own tortured drama of paternity and denial.
“Lake City” then dives headlong into ludicrous melodrama, as armed drug dealers, one played by the rocker Dave Matthews, show up in search of a missing stash. In a climactic sequence that suggests “No Country for Old Men” filtered through “North by Northwest” and “Witness,” Maggie, Billy and Clayton flee for their lives into a cornfield.
The first feature written and directed by Perry Moore and Hunter Hill, “Lake City” feels like a movie whose story was slapped together during filming. Its three phases — Southern pastorale, Sudsville and Kablooie — don’t really connect.
When Billy is first seen, he is being tortured to reveal the whereabouts of Hope (Drea De Matteo), Clayton’s mother, who has presumably run off with the drugs. Hope belatedly and briefly appears when she storms into Maggie’s house to claim Clayton. Then she is gone. But the avenging furies are not far behind.
The acting is much stronger than the storytelling. As a sullen, weakling son with a chip on his shoulder, Mr. Garity gives a furtive, sidelong performance that lends Billy as much plausibility as the screenplay allows. Keith Carradine does the best he can with the phoniest character, Roy, a guitar-playing onetime roustabout who runs the local gas station and gazes longingly at an indifferent Maggie. Mr. Ford’s Clayton is the saddest character: a suspicious, damaged child whose trust in the adult world has been prematurely shattered.
“Lake City” is rated R (Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian). It has profanity and scenes of violence.
Opens on Friday nationwide.
Written and directed by Hunter Hill and Perry Moore; director of photography, Robert Gantz; edited by Jeffrey Wolf; music by Aaron Zigman; production designer, David Crank; produced by Allison Sarofim, Donna L. Bascom and Mike S. Ryan; released by Screen Media Films. Running time: 1 hour 32 minutes.
WITH: Sissy Spacek (Maggie), Troy Garity (Billy), Rebecca Romijn (Jennifer), David Matthews (Red), Keith Carradine (Roy), Colin Ford (Clayton), Barry Corbin (George) and Drea De Matteo (Hope).
Source : newyorktimes.