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Review: Wrong Turn at Tahoe (2009)

Director: Franck Khalfoun | 90 minutes | thriller, crime | Actors: Cuba Gooding Jr., Miguel Ferrer, Harvey Keitel, Noel Gugliemi, Louis Mandylor, Alex Meneses, Johnny Messner, Paul Sampson, Mike Starr, John Cenatiempo, Genevieve Alexandra, Reed McColm, Michael Sean Tighe, Leonor Varela,

Director was previously responsible for “P2” in 2007. A about a businesswoman who is harassed by a psychopath in a parking garage. He stars Cuba Gooding Jr., and in “Wrong Turn at Tahoe”. Cuba Gooding Jr.? Wasn’t that the actor who showed great promise in 1991 for his role in “Boyz ‘n the Hood”? Indeed. And then came supporting roles in “A Few Good Men”, “Lightning Jack” and “Outbreak”. In 1997 Gooding Jr. an Oscar (“best supporting actor”) for his role in the movie “Jerry Maguire”, alongside Tom Cruise (with a famous phrase: “Show me the money!”).

Well, Cuba. What should we think of that? In one way or another, most of the films he acts in seem doomed to end up on DVD shelves right away. This fate has also met “Wrong Turn at Tahoe” and it is actually quite right. Because the looks nice away from home, but would look a bit out of place in the real cinema room. That is not due to Gooding Jr. He puts enough in his role to convince. The star of the film, however, is Miguel Ferrer, an actor who mainly acts in TV series (including “Medical Examiner”). The role of smaller drug lord Vincent seems to suit him. Finally, has to be careful not to get bogged down in roles that become “mannerisms.” Keitel plays Nino Bollino, the “Donald Trump of the Underworld”, too much on autopilot. Been there, done that. Time to move on, Harvey!

The script excels in genre-related raw-shell language with a single outlier (“I’m in too much pain to be dead”). Ferrer in particular gets the most out of the lyrics. Then the story: Thin, but still. Ultimately, it all turns out to be retaliation. Because people live for different reasons. Love, money, power or revenge. Life becomes a real challenge when you live for retaliation, it turns out. How a “wrong turn” can lead to a “dead end”. Literally, because the small and the big drug boss will of course not give up. If one is bothering the other, they will have to make a counter move. That is the nature of the creature. So there is murder over and over again, often in gruesome ways, and we get a picture of how Joshua became Vincent’s protégé. “Gunfight at the O.K. Corral ‘(how coincidentally?), But translated to the 21st century. A lot of shooting, but a little too little body to really last. And, that Tahoe in the title is NOT a place name …

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