Liotta has played this kind of scumbag in many a film - most effectively in Jonathan Demme's wonderful Something Wild - but he feels out of place here. His vileness has a wiseguy flavour and yet here he's supposed to be a local boy who knows the woods. Then again, Hopkins doesn't even bother with an accent and no one seems to notice he's obviously Welsh, or that he's singly unqualified to go and search out an infamous violent psychopath - despite his finely-honed whirligig-making skills. The trio's quest to find Blackway takes them through a series of clichés - the bar fight, the drug motel etc; they even rescue an old school friend of Lillian's and put her on a bus out of town.
Alfredson gives a convincing feel of upstate Washington but the winding roads soon evoke car sickness rather than tension and the overblown Hermann-esque score by Anders Niska and Klas Wahl promises more than this film could ever deliver. Hopkins mutters through his role with so little conviction that the only reasonable reason he appeared in this nonsense was that he owes Alfredson money from a card game he lost when he was appearing in Kidnapping Freddy Heineken. With a poorly-defined mission and a cast of leads who spend most of the film lost, Go With Me feels like an expensive waste of everyone's time; a missed opportunity considering the quality of Castle Freeman Jr.'s source novel.
The 72nd Venice Film Festival takes place from 2-12 September 2015. For more coverage, follow this link.
John Bleasdale | @drjonty