Lake City is reminiscent of a lot of great, rarely seen films—from Come Early Morning to Raggedy Man—but the possibility that a movie will ever remind you of Lake City is slim to none.
Filmmakers Hunter Hill and Perry Moore can’t seem to agree on a tone for the film, which eventually results in a roulette wheel of genres. Don’t like the small Southern town character study featuring Lucinda Williams’ songs? A flick of the wrist, and you have a high-energy action movie about drugs, complete with cheesy action-movie music! Not interested in another movie about a dead child? How about an adult coming-of-age flick?
All of these movies uneasily coexist under the umbrella title of Lake City—along with Rebecca Romijn as the world’s most unlikely recovering alcoholic police officer—which is a shame because Sissy Spacek can be found wasting a genuinely affecting performance in this mess.
As the mother of a wayward son (Troy Garity) who reappears without warning on her doorstep with emotional baggage, small child and drug kingpins in tow, Spacek wisely does very little—which gives force to what she does do. Both weary and edgy in the film’s first scenes, her panic attack at the sight of a woman having a seizure on the grocery store floor is a triumph of minimalism.
Unfortunately, she’s saddled with a back story involving a pickup truck and a dead child; plus, there’s a scenery-chewing cameo by Drea De Matteo as a drug-addled Hooters waitress. By the time an SUV is chasing her through a cornfield in the film’s ludicrous climax, the tender and low-key moments of Lake City (including Keith Carradine as a concerned and besotted mechanic) are long forgotten.
Directed by Hunter Hill & Perry Moore, Running Time: 92 min.
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