Title: Go With Me
Director: Daniel Alfredson
Major Players: Anthony Hopkins, Julia Stiles, Ray Liotta
Out Of Five: 2
So you’re being scared witless by the local crime lord. He’s already trashed your car and decapitated your cat, and the sheriff’s no help. So what do you do?
If you’re Julia Stiles in Go With Me (known in the States as Blackway), you head for the local lumber yard. Well, it was the sheriff’s suggestion, so it must be a good idea, right? It’s full of elderly men who sit around in the office drinking coffee – with one exception. And he’s Anthony Hopkins. He’s much the same age as the rest of them, but still does some physical work – and, even better, he volunteers for the job. Along with the younger Nate (Alexander Ludwig). So it’s off into the mountains to sort out the bad guy.
Bit daft, isn’t it? Unfortunately, that genuinely is the plot. For some reason, it’s being inflicted on American cinema goers, while the UK distributors have shown more sense and released it on DVD. The bargain bucket is its next destination because this is a deeply dull, yawn inducing re-working of an oh-so-familiar story.
It tries to lift itself out of the doldrums by pinching elements of vastly inferior movies. There’s a general feel of Winter’s Bone about the landscape, even if we’re in the logging country of the North West this time, and Stiles bears more than a passing resemblance to Jennifer Lawrence. Ray Liotta’s villain, Blackway, is a B movie Max Cady from Cape Fear, all greasy hair and tattoos peeping out from under his shirt collar. Except, for somebody everybody’s scared of, he’s not especially threatening. And he doesn’t exactly look like a country boy who knows his way round the back roads.
My concern about Anthony Hopkins’ choice of films from just a few days ago has just gone up a couple of notches, because in this instance he really should have known better. This is his second movie with director Daniel Alfredson, who was also behind the miserable Kidnapping Freddy Heineken, but not only does he get top billing, he’s listed a producer. I fear for his investment. I fear even more for his future parts, because here he mumbles his way through a role that’s as grey as the landscape. There are attempts in the script to give him a hint of a backstory, but they come to very little. Even what we have to take as his reason for going after Blackway is sketchy. Frustration all round.
Much of the film is taken up with the oddball trio trying to track down Blackway. Into the truck, drive along, stop, get involved in a fight. Get back in the truck, drive along, stop, set a motel on fire ……. That’s how it goes, cliché piled on cliche. There should be tension as they get closer to their prey and it should all build up to a powerful climax. Instead, it’s just another fight, but a bit longer than the others. And, to add injury to insult, Stiles and Ludwig are completely oblivious to the bullet in Hopkins’ shoulder, despite the obvious hole and blood on his back when they’re standing behind him. Must be all that subdued lighting.
If there were awards for boring titles, Go With Me would get a nomination at least. And it reflects just how dull the film is. It just can’t see the trees for the woods.
Go With Me is released on DVD on Monday, 6 June and reviewed on Talking Pictures on Thursday, 9 June.