DATELINE: Lost Masterpiece
When you change the title after release, you lose a movie sometimes.
In this case, the loss for viewers is palpable. Now using its original novel name, Blackway, this low budget, big-star cast is an allegory about evil set in British Columbia, Canada.
Blackway is the bad guy, and he is the epitome of bad. What better name for this pervasive force in the wilderness.
The cast alone will make you curious: Anthony Hopkins, Julia Stiles, Ray Liotta, and Hal Holbrook, makes for an aging, but brilliant tale of a quest against the ravages of ruthless evil.
You may wonder how such a trio as Stiles, Hopkins, and wonderful Alexander Ludwig, mismatched to fight bad guys, can stand up to Liotta’s ubiquitous town boss. He seems to be everywhere, having done dirt to many in the remote region.
He has power and ultimately engenders total fear among the residents.
No one will help the beleaguered Miss Stiles, except for Hopkins and his muscleman with slow wits. Each has a reason to go against Liotta’s reign of terror.
In one illuminating scene, Hopkins tells us that life forces us to face implacable enemies sometimes: whether it’s cancer, a car crash, or financial ruin. You must deal with it with bravery.
Director Daniel Alfredson has chosen his frightful woods in the world of nowhere quite well, and the adaptation of Castle Freeman’s book goes against the grain of the usual clichés.
So many viewers missed this film, when it deserves your full attention with performances, story, direction, and compelling message. How fortunate we were to stumble upon it by accident.