25 May 2016 | rooee
Chilly, silly Northwest backwoods thriller
Daniel "brother of Tomas" Alfredson directed two parts of the Swedish Millennium Trilogy, so it's no wonder this chilly American thriller, filmed in British Columbia, should feel so... well, Scandinavian. If the lens were filtered any further the movie would be monochrome.
Julia Stiles plays Lillian, a stoic young woman living in a Pacific Northwest logging community, who's being bullied by local gangster Richard Blackway (Ray Liotta). When she goes to the sheriff she's fobbed off and told to leave town. Instead, she enlists the help of old-timer Lester (Anthony Hopkins) and young bruiser Nate (Alexander Ludwig). Together the trio head into the hills to track down Blackway and stop him for good – by whatever means necessary.
With confidence and determination in the face of grotty small town politics, Stiles is channelling something of Jennifer Lawrence's classic Winter's Bone performance here. Lillian's outlook is definite (and defiant) to a fault: "Some people are just bad," she concludes.
Alongside Stiles, Hopkins soft-spoken style is sometimes at odds with the confrontational nature of his character, but he's eminently watchable. And Ludwig is strong as a stuttering soulful warrior who could have been a swaggering cliché.
The first hour is all character-building, and this is where the film is at its strongest. The plot is simple and linear – the ideal foundation for characters to come alive through their interactions, often enriched by the vaguest mention of some unseen life; some mourned-for ex- wife. The dialogue rings true and the characters feel lived in, which is vital for depictions of tight rural communities.
There isn't much in the way of humour, but Go With Me is at least in touch with its absurdity, and it's a lot more fun than Scott Cooper's ostensibly similar Out of the Furnace. This film is fast- paced and full of interesting incident – up to a point. Unfortunately in the final reel the narrative unravels, and the climactic confrontation is a frustratingly dark, indistinct mess. It leaves you with a sense of hard work not quite paying off.
Overall it's a solid movie. Thanks in part to the terrible UK title (it's called Blackway in the US), it's likely to go unnoticed by a wide audience, but it deserves attention.