Cinema Review: Good People | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Tuesday, May 21st, 2024  

Good People

Studio: Millennium
Directed by Henrik Ruben Genz

Sep 26, 2014 Web Exclusive
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Tom and Anna Wright (James Franco and Kate Hudson) are down-on-their-luck Americans living in London. The couple moved across the pond to reinvigorate their lives (and marriage) after inheriting a house, but their savings are all but extinguished and the renovations are far from complete. A solution to the Wrights’ financial woes seems to present itself in the form of a duffel bag filled with cash they find in their downstairs tenant’s apartment after he dies from a drug overdose. However, as soon as they begin spending the stolen cash, mobsters who lay claim to the money come knocking and refuse to let up until they’re repaid in full.

Based on Marcus Sakey’s 2008 novel, Good People—written by Kelly Masterson and directed by Henrik Ruben Genz—thinks it’s a lot smarter than it really is. Early and obvious exposition sets up that the Wrights need money—fast—or else their London life will come screeching to a halt. Unexplained, though, is how they’ve come to rent a large enough apartment (while renovating the house they inherited) that they have a basement apartment they can sublet. At one point while trying to convince his wife (and the audience) they should spend the found money, Tom tells Anna they’ve never been given anything in life, clearly forgetting they were bequeathed a house. If they’re in need of funds so badly, why not rent a smaller apartment or stay in the (dramatically) unfinished house they recently scored?

All things considered, the couple doesn’t seem to be doing so badly—that, or Masterson and Genz fall short selling the premise—which makes it all the more difficult to believe the choices they make. With so many opportunities to turn in the money, go to the cops, fess up, or otherwise shed themselves of the situation, the Wrights make one bad decision after another. By the time the Wrights find themselves in a Home Alone/Straw Dogs style home defense situation, playing one gang off against another, one can’t help but wonder if Tom and Anna really are, in fact, good people.

Author rating: 4.5/10

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Average reader rating: 6/10


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