Directed by Henrik Ruben Genz
Written by Kelly Masterson from Marcus Sakey
Starring James Franco, Kate Hudson, Tom Wilkinson
Discovering a cache of cash in their dead tenant’s apt, a couple in debt take the money and find themselves the target of a deadly adversary – the thief who stole it.
Okay, so you really need an injection of funds as you’re on your uppers and along comes this big pile of cash. You don’t know where it came from and you don’t know who it really belongs to. But now you’ve got £220, 000 sitting on your kitchen table and you’re silently, secretly wondering if you can really get away with keeping it. What’s the worst that could happen, right? Hmm, are you getting that same feeling of deja-vu? Already, you know this isn’t going to end well. Morality tales, especially regarding money, rarely let the easy victory go by without some kind of consequence, after all.
Firstly, finding Kate Hudson and James Franco holed up in some grotty London flat is jarring enough. There goes all the glamour that you initially thought Kate Hudson would be bringing to the party, anyway. Franco maybe less so, as we are used to seeing him in varying levels of excess and success, but without looking too deeply into the plot before watching this, you might be expecting, albeit with a supporting performance from Tom Wilkinson, that this might the Brits featured traveling to Hollywood to make this and not the other way around. Still, I guess you film where the money says you have to.
When this American couple, who decided to start a new life a few years previously in London when a relative left a house to Franco’s character, Tom, they decided to rent another house and do up the property that had been left to them. Recently, as money became tight, they took to sub-letting their basement in order to make ends meet. A la Shallow Grave however, it seems their tenant (kept himself to himself) was distinctly more interesting than he was letting on, particularly when he is found by the young couple, dead on the dining table. The plot doth thicken, methinks. It is at this point that the struggling twosome inadvertently come across a bag of money in the tenants’ apartment while they are cleaning up after the police have been to take the body away. Now what? Indeed…
Well wouldn’t you just know it. The two of them decide to keep the money and stuff it into the walls of the dead mans’ apartment on the agreement that if nobody comes looking for it after a couple of weeks, then they will start to use it, seeing as how they already have money worries of their own, not least an imminent eviction from their home and the repossession of the house that Tom is refurbishing. Anna (Hudson) has also been trying for a baby without success and the draw of the IVF clinic, a notion that was only previously hampered by a lack of funds, becomes increasingly difficult to ignore.
The story is a simple one and not wholly original. There have been many just like it and the moral quandary always raises its ugly head and usually with the exact same result. Person finds answer to everything but at what cost? This is no different, but as I said playing this in a London suburb with these two American actors as leads is a little jarring at first, though you will get used to it.
The performances are fine from the leads, if not particularly outstanding. The score is effective and generally follows the mood of the project well. The location is authentic, even if the story is less so. Supporting performances from good cop Tom Wilkinson is also pleasing, if we can’t help feel that he is a little underused and especially formidable is Omar Sy, who is so convincing that you would certainly be forgiven for not wanting to meet him on a dark night at your local pub at closing time.
Good People is entertaining throughout, if not riveting at any stage. There is enough bloodletting to call it sometimes grisly, particularly in the manner and method that some of the victims are dispatched, but if you don’t mind a little bit of violence in your thrillers, then you will doubtless agree by the end that it doesn’t do the film any harm. Worth a viewing certainly, but this most likely won’t stick with you for long.
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