Blackway (2015) Review : Gritty, low-key small town drama

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Blackway (2015) 

Blackway (2015)

If you, just like me, can't get enough of bleak and gritty small-town dramas, this one might be for you. Blackway slowly builds momentum and although not as good as Blue Ruin (2013) - one of my favorite films in the genre - actually feels kind of similar in 'realness' and setup. Dialogue is quite sparse but complements the low-key grading of the scenes perfectly. I doubt this film will make any significant waves with the general public, but Anthony Hopkins performance is as solid as ever and the story is pretty believable. Over all good performances by the cast. I would recommend for anybody into drama and or revenge type films.

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.

'Blackway' is about as straight forward of a story line as you'll ever get, and yet it's all the more enjoyable for that reason alone. Frequently films spend so much time trying to be complex that they forget to keep the realism factor and allow the characters to carry the movie. Some reasonably large actors (not so much currently, but in their time) signed on to this. Ray Liotta has always been a personal favourite of mine. He's very much suited to the character. He can play 'unlikable' very well. Julia Stiles is a little clunky in her line delivery at time, but has just enough acting chops in other areas to get away with it. The stand-out for me though was Anythony Hopkins. What a delight it is to watch this man act. He may not have the energy in his roles he once had, but his presence more than makes up for it. His line delivery is elegant and yet menacing in its own way at the same time. To think at 78 he is still working as frequently as he is is astonishing.

Quiet little independent films like this often go one of two ways. Either they're incredibly dull, simply trying to be more than they are capable of. Or in the case of 'Blackway' they just perfectly find their niche and are a delight to watch. It's far from perfect and there's nothing game-changing here, but if you're just looking for an enjoyable 90 minute experience you won't be disappointed.

I read the synopsis: Anthony Hopkins plays a man who helps a woman, played by Julia Styles who is being harassed by Ray Liotta and the cops won't do anything to stop him.

Now I assumed because Anthony Hopkins was the lead that this would have more drama. Well if it's trying for that, it failed.

What I was seeing was a slow and quiet action film. That may seem odd with Hopkins as the lead but the movie possibly would have been far more better if Vin Diesel or Jason Statham was at the helm. In fact Statham did a movie called Homefront, which at it's core base is a lot like this one.

Of course, Hopkins is too...seasoned in years to do what Statham can do so they had to slow down the pace of the action and have Alexander Ludwig take the hits as Hopkins sidekick

It's an odd movie because of that and I think what really throws you off is the choice of Hopkins when aged action stars like Schwarzenegger or Stallone would have made a better fit. Even Di Niro would have made a better choice.

I think this thriller could have been something more watchable if they got an actor that could have made the role more vibrant

Share on :

No comments:

Post a Comment

Copyright © 2015 Movie Reviews
Distributed By My Blogger Themes | Design By Herdiansyah Hamzah