Good People Review
"What would you do with £300,000?"
Good People is a low budget thriller directed by Henrik Ruben Genz and stars James Franco, Kate Hudson and Tom Wilkinson.
Franco and Hudson play husband and wife, Tom and Anna Wright, a loyal and law-abiding couple who have fallen into debt whilst attempting to renovate their home and start a family. Life is tough for the Wright family, but when they find their tenant dead in the flat below with a large stash of money, it could be the answer to all of their problems. What Tom and Anna don't know is that this money is dirty, and Detective Halden (Tom Wilkinson) begins to investigate the case as the Wrights get pulled deeper into a world they've always tried to avoid.
From the beginning we are presented with this unbelievable scenario and character of Tom Wright who is an American living in London and struggling to make ends meet. James Franco's performance isn't poor or outstanding but even with an average attempt, it never really sits right that a character with his back story and origin would be in this predicament in the first place. Not only that, but the fact that their tenant just happens to be a London gangster and has stolen money on hand that is pivotal to the plot pushes the film in the realm of far-fetched.
Once the Wright's have located this stolen money and decided to use it to help them survive, they in turn make enemies of the gangs to whom the money belongs. Tom and Anna end up in the middle of a predictable and generic turf war that we have seen done plenty of times before.
The reason that Good People struggles is because of the lazily written and unimaginative story line and characters that we have been presented with. It doesn't manage to achieve anything unique that would otherwise make it stand out from other films in this packed genre. It is a huge shame that this has happened because theirs are decent performances given from a fairly big-name cast. Some lesser known actors being cast as the leads would have added a sprinkle of realism to the plot, which would have made it more believable. That being said, even a more modest casting choice wouldn't have managed to seal the cracks in the plot.
Even with this film being based on a book, the characters are never really explored or fleshed out in any major way. We have a generic 'goody' couple who are thrown into obscurity with a gang of criminals led by a scowling cut-and-pasted bad guy who seems like he has been churned out of the "bad guy cloning facility". Alongside that we have a straight cop wanted revenge on the criminal leader and members of the police department who have been blackmailed and bought out by the gang.
I was fully expecting a little more from this film considering the calibre of the cast and the potential that this genre has. That being said, it is watchable and an enjoyable film to stick on on a rainy Friday night. Nothing more, nothing less.
The DVD disc is presented in a 16:9 ratio and is distributed by Lionsgate.
The disc contains only one special feature:
GOOD PEOPLE FEATURETTE - A short two and a half minute quick look at cast interviews about the basic plot of the film.
It is always very disappointing to see a lack of special features.