Lakewood review – Naomi Watts school shooting thriller falls short
A pandemic-made project, starring the Oscar winner as a mother racing to save her son, starts out with tension but ends up in silliness
As more pandemic-produced movies continue trickling out, we’re able to see that for the majority, they can be easily placed in two separate, if ultimately similar, columns: those that use the empty outside expanse to maintain distance from others and those that use a small interior setting to keep things simple. This year’s Toronto film festival boasts a number of films scrambled together in the last 18 months but there are two which revolve around the same gimmick: an A-list star dealing with a tense situation through a string of phone calls. In The Guilty, Jake Gyllenhaal tries to save a kidnapped woman while stuck inside a 911 dispatch centre while in Lakewood, Naomi Watts tries to get to the bottom of a school shooting while stranded in the middle of the remote Canadian wilderness. They’re both made by sturdy genre film-makers (The Guilty is from Antoine Fuqua of Training Day and The Equaliser and Lakewood from Philip Noyce of Salt and Patriot Games) and both involve a lot of frenzied emoting.