Lake City: Crime and Punishment in Rural Virginia

Troy Garity has a rangy, lonesome-stranger body and pouchy eyes. He can boot a cigarette butt to the curb like a champ and fill a frame with the handsome, so-what lure of damaged goods; in a better world, and a better movie, he’d have the ladies sighing, the gentlemen nodding, and all parties clamoring for more. Instead, Garity brings little more than moves to Billy, the troubled baby-daddy and narc-anon member he plays in Lake City; added to the general torpidity and twangy tropes of this Southern family drama is the discomfort of watching a natural actor force it. As Billy’s mother, Maggie, Sissy Spacek fares a little better, if only because she’s had more experience bravely telegraphing through even the roughest terrain. After a nasty run-in with a drug dealer (Dave Matthews), Billy seeks haven at his family’s Virginia homestead with Clayton (Colin Ford), a surly young boy of uncertain provenance, in tow. Mother and son have an uneasy bond that should be familiar to anyone who’s ever seen a movie in which a child’s room has been preserved and locked tight. That bond is examined, tested, and finally renewed following a violent denouement that bleeds any lingering patience you might have for this film right through your eyeballs.