Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Good People: Kate Hudson Wears The Pants, Perfecting Ballsy Moves Against Bad Guys

Nuclear family noir faces off against gangster thriller gore in Good People. Simultaneously referencing traditional mobster mayhem and bleak, apocalyptic end stage capitalism in a recession stricken world.

James Franco and Kate Hudson are Tom and Anna Reed in Good People, an economically struggling young American couple migrating to London after Anna inherits a dilapidated family home there. Determined to renovate the aged structure in nearly complete shambles while relying on Tom's carpentry skills but few funds, the frustrated  duo are elated when a downstairs neighbor in the building where they live is found murdered, but leaving behind a huge amount of hidden cash they discover there. Money that they attempt to rationalize, has no moral value in and of itself, it's what people do with it that creates ethical quandaries.

And turning up to drive those problematic points home rather quickly as the pair begins to pay off debts, are no less than three warring parties. Counting a deeply suspicious detective (Tom Wilkinson) with his own hidden agenda, local drug dealers from whom the money was originally stolen, and French gangsters who were ripped off by the local thugs in the first place. Leaving the couple in the unfortunate predicament of eluding everyone in question at the same time, in order to save their lives.

Kate Hudson wears the pants in this particular family outing, with Franco frequently deferring to her ballsy moves intercepting the bad guys, more comfortable apparently with applying his craftsman skills to a kind of creative blue collar class warfare. And with the various menacing intruders when not homicidal busybodies standing in somewhat for a metaphorical late capitalism doing battle with itself, and those at the bottom left essentially with no side to choose from or any traditional good versus, evil amid multiple malevolent threats. Whether implicating ruthless greed, official corruption, or perfected torture in the pursuit of ill gotten gain.

Directed by masterfully bold and socially intuitive Danish filmmaker Henrik Ruben Genz (Terribly Happy) and adapted by Kelly Masterson (Snowpiercer, Before The Devil Knows You're Dead) from the  Marcus Sakey novel, Good People anchors this story in a sobering subtext beyond its otherwise conventional thriller roots. Channeling guerrilla imagination with whatever tools at hand, and workingclass resistance in a nearly futile hi-tech weaponry world. Or as a confident Kate Hudson declares at a key moment in confronting formidable, elaborately armed opponents from all sides, "Guns are for pussies."