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Movies From the Black Lagoon: Wrong Turn at Tahoe

Movies From the Black Lagoon
Wrong Turn at Tahoe - 2009, Rated R
By Tom Doty

A principled tough guy begins to question his station in life while a conflict between his boss and a major league gangster threatens to turn everything upside down in this gritty crime drama from the director of 'P2.'
The title is a bit misleading here as the film takes place in upstate New York (an effect that was achieved by shooting the movie in Spokane, Washington). Tahoe isn't a place here but the name of a cat that is planning to kill a crook named Vincent. This doesn't sit well with our main character, Joshua. Turns out that Joshua has worked for Vincent his whole adult life so he makes sure to tell his boss all about this threat.
Unfortunately the source of the info is a junkie whose judgment is a bit impaired by his heroin habit. Joshua is also worried about Vincent's state of mind. Apparently he's been acting a bit impulsive of late. This trend is well evidenced when Vincent opts to beat Tahoe to death with a baseball bat before hearing his side of the story. Joshua becomes even more concerned when Vincent impulsively shoots an employee because he suspects that the man was making time with his wife.
This is probably the worse time to add to the boss' woes but Joshua does just that by mentioning that he wants out of the criminal lifestyle. Vincent doesn't take the news well but a pair of goons who he spies near his home soon distracts him. They turn out to be in the employ of a big time gangster, named Nino. Joshua decides to accompany his boss on a meeting with Nino and it goes poorly. Nino does not take kindly to losing an "earner" like Tahoe.
Tensions are ratcheted up quickly when Nino chooses to make it personal by sending a thug after Vincent's wife. Vincent takes off after Nino liked a guided missile and Joshua opts to tag along and make sure his boss doesn't have to face this threat alone. The resulting showdown is down and dirty with enough splatter effects to fill a season of 'the Soprano's." By the time the dust settles most everyone who was a threat is dead but the situation has stirred some memories in Joshua. These aren't warm and fuzzy remembrances however and that may be very bad news for Vincent.
What makes film work are fine performances from Cuba Gooding, Jr. and Miguel Ferrer, as Joshua and Vincent. These guys are seasoned professionals and they bring their A-Game to the material. They are well supported by Harvey Keitel who manages to infuse Nino with an abundance f evil in relatively short screen time. This is melodrama at its finest. If you enjoyed "Goodefellas" or "Miller's Crossing" then you'll probably dig this mix of mob action and high melodrama.
Best Line: " Frankie Tahoe may have been worthless in the eyes of God and Society, but he was an exceptional drug dealer."

Tom Doty occasionally emerges from the Lagoon to check his e-mail and to read to children every Wednesday at 10:30am at Borders in Hagerstown. If you'd like to get a message to him, write to:

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