Before we begin on this review of Good People starring the lively talents of James Franco and Kate Hudson, I felt I might spend a sentence or two expanding on the process of writing a review of this nature. The Burns’ Protocols if you will. I like to start by ensuring my clothing is loose fitting: perhaps linen, perhaps a kaftan. This is to ensure that blood flow is not restricted and to keep rivulets of fury-sweat to an absolute minimum. I prefer to abstain from drinks and if possible, will keep my itching thumbs away from my phone.I make notes using a pen (fountain for preference but biro if I’ve lost it/not bought ink) also, I may wear my slippers. Through such preparations I try to pay the whole enterprise the maximum of courtesy before the film and I tango till we’re sore. On this occasion, while I did not in any way dislike the film particularly, I feel it only fair to tell you that about halfway through, I did pause it to open a continental lager and do a little ironing. Nothing heavy duty, just a shirt or two.
So then, full disclosure out of the way, let’s crack on.
Franco and Hudson live in squalor in London together. These beautiful Americans are there because his business failed in Chicago during ‘the crash’ and they miscarried. Really though, I suspect they were there rather than give the gig to some English people who play gangsters, coppers or corrupt coppers, exclusively. Maybe the original novel by Marcus Sakey has two Americans in it, I don’t know. I doubt it. Anyway, they are desperate for money and discover their tenant downstairs is dead. Turns out he was a rum sort and had stashed some money in the flat. They, upon discovering this reason that they, struggling as they are, and having always been GOOD PEOPLE, deserve to keep it. Fine. Incidentally, hearing Kate Hudson say the word “quid” is a treat.
Other people disagree, they come after the money and some mildly sweary, cockney unpleasantness ensues. Tom Wilkinson is there as a vaguely patrician police officer and things trundle along merrily for a while. It was at this point that I first paused and went for a cigarette.
The music in the film is quite something. At times, it is simply the dark tones that Jason Segel complained about in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, but at others it is almost an additional character in the room. Neil Davidge the composer, has done a lovely job. Admittedly on one occasion it reminded me frighteningly of the frantic harpsichord in Van Helsing but I liked that, so to my mind no bad thing.
Meanwhile in the film, it’s all unfolding quite nicely. Franco and Hudson are beginning to twig that taking money from drug dealers doesn’t traditionally end with paying your mortgage off and everybody looks appropriately frantic.
I go and get the iron and open the fridge with a sigh.
This film, as you can probably tell, is absolutely fine. It is a workmanlike and solid thriller with very little to recommend it but very little to denigrate it either. In its defence, the ending started to remind me a little of Home Alone and as a result, I did put my ironing down and decided to forego the pleasure of folding it.
It passed the ninety minutes perfectly pleasantly and my shirts look lovely and smart. A solid, if forgettable, three.
Dir: Henrik Ruben Genz
Scr: Kelly Masterson
Starring: James Franco, Kate Hudson, Tom Wilkinson, Omar Sy, Anna Friel
Prd: Ed Cathell III, Thomas Gammeltoft, Eric Kranzler, Avi Lerner, Tobey Maguire
DOP: Jorgen Johansson
Music: Neil Davidge
Country: UK, USA, Sweden, Denmark
Run time: 90 mins
Good People is in cinemas from 21 August 2015.