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Shea Whigham & Carrie Coon in Classic Neo-Noir



A nifty little neo-noir carried by two likeable leads, Lake George follows a pair of down-and-out, middle-aged criminals who attempt to rip off a wealthy gangster and someway get away with it.

Is {that a} acquainted premise? Sure. Do stars Shea Whigham and Carrie Coon handle to make the fabric really feel each recent and fascinating? Sure. Is there nonetheless a theatrical viewers on the market for this type of modest, well-acted and slickly crafted B-level thriller? That continues to be to be seen.

Lake George

The Backside Line

Each acquainted and recent.

Venue: Tribeca Movie Pageant (Highlight Narrative)
Forged: Shea Whigham, Carrie Coon, Glenn Fleshler, Max Casella
Director, screenwriter: Jeffrey Reiner

1 hour 38 minutes

Premiering on the Tribeca Movie Pageant, veteran director Jeffrey Reiner’s newest function affords up a number of welcome twists on a typical noir state of affairs: Ex-con Don (Whigham) will get out of jail and tries to gather the cash he’s owed by an L.A. thug, Armen (Glenn Fleshler), who lives in a large McMansion up within the Hollywood Hills. However Don isn’t any powerful man, and he winds up getting coerced into killing Armen’s former squeeze, Phyllis (Coon).

There’s nothing new about that set-up, which is hammered out within the first 10 minutes or so. The remainder of Lake George is all about how that preliminary plot unravels, and retains unraveling till the very finish.

It’s because Don isn’t your typical outlaw, however relatively a meek, world-weary claims adjuster who served a protracted jail sentence for serving to Armen pull off a slew of insurance coverage frauds. Over-the-hill, with a foul arm and paralyzed by panic assaults, he’s not precisely the appropriate candidate to hold out a homicide. And so it’s no shock that as a substitute of taking pictures Phyllis level clean as he was imagined to, he’s duped into teaming up along with her to steal from Armen and begin a brand new life.

Reiner’s script recollects Double Indemnity, Out of the Previous and different classics of the style the place a semi-good man crosses paths with a femme fatale and plenty of dangerous stuff ensues. However the director doesn’t observe that system utterly, specializing in a few grifters who’re already previous their prime and simply on the lookout for slightly peace and quiet. That is particularly the case with Don, a damaged man estranged from his circle of relatives and left with nothing however a small cabin (situated beside the movie’s titular lake) the place he hopes to quiet down and be forgotten.

Whigham has had memorable second roles in all the pieces from Jeff Nichols’ Take Shelter to HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, so it’s good to see him enjoying the lead for a change. He hardly utters a phrase all through Lake George, but he compellingly channels a person with nothing a lot left to dwell for, strolling round stupefied and shell-shocked by all of the incorrect turns he’s taken in his life. Coon appears to be having tons of enjoyable as a bleached-blonde seductress who initially takes Don for a significant journey, till she begins to comprehend he maybe deserves higher.

Lake George rolls easily, if a bit slowly, alongside as a two-handed highway film marked by a number of sturdy set-pieces — notably one which takes place inside Armen’s stash home and entails a hidden protected crammed with gold bars, a grotesque killing and never one however a number of amputated fingers.

Reiner, whose credit embody such TV reveals as Excessive Constancy, Shameless and Fargo, doesn’t shrink back from the gore, and just like the Coen brothers he blends it with a model of deadpan humor that underscores a number of the violence. One other standout scene has Don and Phyllis attempting to rob a second stash home, solely to seek out themselves witnessing an excruciating intercourse scene that retains getting interrupted by a yapping canine.

Ultimately, all of their shenanigans quantity to the theft of one thing like $200,000, which reveals how low the stakes right here actually are. However that’s additionally what makes Lake George fairly endearing, regardless of its total familiarity and 90s-ish vibe (suppose True Romance however with a pair of drained, previous and pretty incompetent thieves). With little to realize and nothing to lose, one of the best Don and Phyllis could finally have is one another.

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