Projections - Movie Reviews



For some, not much happens in Lakeboat, a character driven film which approximates David Mamet's years as a graduate student aboard a Great Lakes freighter which slowly heads up to Canada.  Joe Mantegna's direction glimpses naturally at the classic scenarist's early days about a generation ago and the conversations help to keep things from getting too hackneyed like a game of cards.

In a fine piece of casting, Tony Mamet, the writer's younger brother is Dale whose character is based on his brother's experience during a four month stint on the steel hauling ship while in graduate school.

The recollections by the crew, in flashback, of how the freighter's night cook (an uncredited Andy Garcia) missed the boat keeps boredom down to a minimum though it offers a strange diversion from the usual Mamet snappiness that comes from the written page.

The emotional undertow in Lakeboat is provided by Robert Forster in his richest performance since his bail bondsman in Jackie Brown.  Joe is the most interesting sailor who actually never met his goals and feels his potential can be found through books.

Through his extended chats with Dale, Joe exposes a tender side that Forster explores with deep humanity considering the roster on hand.

Mantegna is perhaps in his Lakeboat stage as a technical filmmaker, but this adaptation of Mamet's 1980 play, finds some passion on a freighter during the dead calm of a hot summer even if we know better things will crest in time after the smaller ambitions have penetrated the surface.

Lake Boat

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