Tom and Anna Wright find a large sum of money hidden away in their dead neighbour’s flat and decide to take it.
Please, take another look at the single-sentence gist above. It has not been shortened to hide any intricacies of the plot. Look at it and then ask yourself if this plot, the action Tom (James Franco) and Anna (Kate Hudson), portrayed by two people who have zero chemistry with each other, have decided to take, sounds like a bad idea to you.
It is probably not going to be a huge surprise that the film in fact doesn’t go “They took the money carefully hidden away in a dead person’s flat and lived happily ever after”, but it’s the only thing unmistakably clear in Good People from that point on.
Marcus Sakey, whose novel of the same name the film is adapted from, did everything short of leaving his phone number in the blurb to have one of his books optioned for filming, but why it’s Good People that made it will forever remain a mystery.
Trouble follows the Wright’s decision in the shape of Witkowski (Sam Spruell), the dead man’s cousin.
Witkowski is a sinister guy who wants the money, probably made by sinister business, because sinister guys need money, too, and if this sounds made up to you, then be assured that it is more of an explanation than the film ever gives.
Also present, with barely more of a reason, is Detective Halden (Tom Wilkinson), who suspects the Wright’s of withholding information because… something doesn’t feel right. It’s a detective thing.
The film goes on in this fashion, making random connections out of thin air, for example how the Wrights are helped by heroin dealer Khan (Omar Sy), the original owner of the money (you read that right).
If Skyfall is an amusing example of grown people fighting off a home invasion using power tools, then Good People is the low end of the spectrum, and that is probably not something you thought you’d read anytime soon.
If you want to assign blame to anyone for the train wreck that Good People essentially is, you can certainly start with Sakey’s novel, even though the film certainly doesn’t do a good job of translating it to screen – it’s simply a bad film based on bad source material, one of the many ideas Sakey had, and in many respects simply one more book that got turned into a film.
Don’t worry, there will be others.
Good People is another film taking an idea with potential and running straight to nowhere with it, replacing a logical plot with needlessly over the top action.
Director: Henrik Ruben Genz
Starring: James Franco, Kate Hudson, Tom Wilkinson, Omar Sy, Sam Spurell
Running Time: 90 min