27 June 2005 | sol1218
***SPOILERS*** Surreal melodrama that goes in a number of different directions. Until you realize what really happened to defeated senatorial candidate John Waylan's, Peter Strauss, wife Kathy, Kathleen Quinlan. Who's been missing it what seemed to have been a boating accident.
Newspaper reporter Nat Leming, Horthgar Mathews, is out to break the big story about John wife's mysterious disappearance at the house that they were living in by the lake in the woods. Nat tries to get whatever information about the Waylands that he can from those who knew them. Like John's campaign manager Tony Carbo, Peter Boyle, and Kathy's sister Pat Hood,Nancy Soral. But Nat gets nowhere and it also seems that he's in some way holding himself responsible, for what happened to Kathy. By a story that he broke about her husband John just days before the election.
Finding out that John was involved in the infamous Son My massacre when he was a US infantry man during the Vietnam War Nat broke the story that broke the the back of Waylan steamroller that was well on it's way to put him in the US senate. With a 22 point lead evaporating over night John is left out of work without a job and a bleak future with the words "Baby Killer" stamped on his forehead.
Were left a bit confused to what happened to Kathy and what John had to do with her disappearance, if at all. Most of all were shown what John has been going through not only since Vietnam but far earlier in his life when he was a young boy fascinated with doing magic tricks.
At the time we meet john he looks like he's a shoo-in to get elected senator of the state of Minnisota. As his campaign falls apart, due to the revelation about his Vietnam experience, he turns inward and just gives up by living in a fantasy world that he created for himself. Were never really told what happened to Kathy, the viewer is shown a number of different scenarios. So in the end it's left up to the viewers imagination. One thing that isn't is that John is a very sick man who lost touch with reality. Due to the madness that consumed him, by the time the movie is over.
One thing in the film "In the lake of the Woods" that was a bit too much to take was the conduct of Sheriff Lux's, Ken Pogue, part-time deputy Person, Stephen E. Mille. Person was so obnoxious as well as unprofessional that I wondered how the sheriff could put up with his actions, that were anything but helpful in finding the missing Mrs. Waylan. Since they crossed the line of investigating a missing person to the point of having him, and his boss sheriff Lux, brought up on charges for making false and unfounded statements about, of all persons, the distraught husband of the missing woman!
We, as well as John, even had to put up with the uncouth deputy Person belting him twice, not once, in the mouth in full view of a number of witnesses, including Sheriff Lux. With John doing nothing at all to provoke him? Guilty or not John has the right of being considered innocent until proved guilty in a court of law. Persons actions would have made any trial of John be thrown out of court by the presiding judge. In fact John was never even arrested much less charged with Kathy's murder.
All I could think of in explaining Deputy Person's uncivil behavior is that he must have had friends in high places in government for him to feel safe in acting that way.