Saturday, October 25, 2014

Blu-ray/DVDebut: James Franco & Kate Hudson in Henrik Ruben Genz's thriller, GOOD PEOPLE

You might imagine that the combination of housing, home construction, the economic downturn, fertility, morality, robbery and murder would make for a fairly heady stew. Add to this an internation-al cast of Brits, Americans, Scandinavians and France's Omar Sy (of The Intouchables), all helmed by Danish director Henrik Ruben Genz (of Terribly Happy), with a screenplay adapted from Marcus Sakey's novel by Kelly Masterson (the Snowpiercer scribe), and you might think, "Wow." Or at least "semi-wow." Maybe this is just too much of a good thing, as GOOD PEOPLE (yes, this is a very ironic title) comes off as both a little too predictable and a lot unbelievable, though it does provide some genuine excitement and dumb fun along the way.

The filmmaker, shown at right, is adept at his action scenes, which begin and end the film, and he draws OK performances from his starry international cast. But Masterson's screenplay piles far too many charac-ters and events into too little time, and thus the plotting feels rushed and too pre-ordained for belief. That said, the movie begins with a knockout scene of drugs-for-money robbery and betrayal, which should have you glued to the screen and waiting for more. But then the actual plot and main characters -- played by James Franco and Kate Hudson -- kick into action and the movie begins immediately to stall.

This is less due to the OK work of the two stars (shown above, in fear, and below, with money) and their co-stars than to a screenplay that gives them so many problems that seem so insoluble that we want to run for cover. But of course we know that, if movie history be our guide, things will all come out for the best.

Money might solve our main couple's woes, but not that of the police inspector on the case (Tom Wilkinson) who suffers from guilt regarding the death of his daughter due to the same drug lord who is now on Franco/Hudson's case.

Toss in Anna Friel who plays a single mom with little baby in tow (guess who is going to be used as kidnap bait?), some scenes of torture-to-obtain-information (one of these is shown above), and the very cinematic M. Sy (below) and you've got a lot on your plate. If there were only some way to make it all coalesce believably.

The prolonged (but I must admit quite exciting) finale puts that home construction theme to interesting use, and adds to the violence on display (Mr. Franco gets beaten to a pulp in the course of things -- this happens so frequently on film to the poor guy that I am guessing it must now be an ironclad clause in the contract he signs for each new movie).

And that's about it. After a very brief theatrical foray, Good People -- from Millennium Entertainment and running 91 minutes -- makes its Blu-ray and DVD debut this coming Tuesday, October 28, for sale and rental.

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