Revenge is a dish best served cold, and you can’t get much colder then logging country in the Pacific Northwest. That is the landscape of Blackway, in a seemingly lawless town ruled by fear and isolation. When a women returns to her home town to take care of her dying mother, she has no idea she will soon be the target of the kingpins, albeit psychotic, obsession. When that obsession crosses the line from sleazy flirtation to assault, things stop being harmless and get real.
The latest film by director Daniel Alfredson is an adaptation of a 2008 novel, Go With Me, by American writer Castle Freeman, Jr. Blackway gets the audience’s attention at the word go and doesn’t let go until the credits start to roll. The story doesn’t play out linearly, interweaving flashbacks to continue the character development and move the plot along.
Starring Julie Stiles as a substitute teacher Lillian who recently returned home when her mother fell ill. We are introduced to Lillian as she paints a room in her mother’s home. Using the stalker camera angle tucked away in the brush, watching an unaware Lillian creates instant tension and suspense. That is when we are first introduced to the shadowy figure, Blackway, played by Ray Liotta of Goodfellas fame.
We quickly learn just how psychotic and grotesque Blackway can be as Lillian reaches out to the towns sheriff to file a complaint. Unaware the severity of the situation, the sheriff tries to brush her off until Lillian presents her decapitated cat as exhibit P for psycho stalker. This scene is important and sets the lore of Blackway for the rest of the film. The sheriff, knowing he has no power in the town, gives Lillian two options. She can either leave town, or go down to the logging yard and ask them for help.
This is where we are introduced to the two heroes of the film, Lester and Nate. Played by Anthony Hopkins, Les is wily old man who seems to act on compassion when he decides to help Lillian. Nate, played by Alexander Ludwig, is Les’s stuttering son he never had. As the movie progresses the struggle for what is right and what has to be done is portrayed through Lillian. While Les’ reason for helping Lillian becomes more about his revenge and less about helping Lillian.
After Les and Nate confront Blackway’s base of operation, subsequently burning it down and freeing a child hood friend of Lillian’s, they know there is only one place where Blackway will head, the towns. On there long drive up the mountain the lore of towns is explained by an old logger sitting around shooting the shit. That far into the mountains bodies are never found, but devoured by the wild life. This is the ultimate show down, two groups enter, only one will come down the mountain alive. The stakes have never been higher. This is where Lillian comes to the realization that some people are just bad, and need to be wiped clean from the earth.
The climax of the movie comes when Blackway fights the group of Les, Nate, and Lillian. Beating the crap out of Nate before moving onto the easier pray, Lillian. During this scene I was on the edge of my seat, unsure what will happen. Would this be the movie where the hero’s die, being more true to real life? Or would the hero’s prevail finally vanquishing the evil that is Blackway from the logging towns of the Pacific Northwest.
Daniel Alfredson did a great job developing each character enough that we cared what happened to them, and we wanted Blackway dead. Ray Liotta was so amazing in this role. He plays a power hungry sleaze ball to a T. This goes to show just how amazing of an actor he is, considering how nice he was in that one episode of Modern Family. This film also was great for Lochlyn Munro in a small role as Blackway’s book keeper Murdoc. I know Lochlyn as more of a comedic actor, but he killed it in this serious roll.
I was surprised at home much I enjoyed this film. If you’re theatrical taste leans towards revenge centered dramas Blackway would be great movie to watch.