An all-star cast featuring James Franco, Kate Hudson and Tom Wilkinson collectively phone-in admittedly half-decent performances in this very ordinary thriller. Martin Carr takes a closer look…
This is copy book stuff, solidly acted by a good cast and designed to do nothing more than entertain without asking too much of its audience. However, what kept niggling at me throughout the whole fiasco was this: Why in God’s name are James Franco and co even on screen.
Don’t misunderstand me, Good People is ably directed lifting liberally from Shallow Grave in the process. But in amongst the A-Team ingenuity and Home Alone harvested pratfalls, alarm bells were ringing. Director Ruben Genz shows us a grim London in the shadow of The Shard, while Franco and Kate Hudson play it straight as Americans barely making ends meet in a present day East End. But in spite of their good performances I never shook the feeling they belonged elsewhere. It’s the same story with Tom Wilkinson who puts the work in but also seems out of place.
Plot points came and went in a well-signposted order. From dead bodies downstairs to money in the ceiling, Good People served them up without a hint of self-awareness making it predictably entertaining. Only occasional blips amongst the mediocrity lifted this adequate thriller above average. A fact that Hudson and Franco could have done this in their sleep will come as no surprise, which only compounds the mystery further as to why they got involved.
Let’s be honest when True Story and Almost Famous are on your resume people will ask questions. Maybe they needed the money for a holiday or house payment? But that theory makes no sense as both do good work here, or at least pretend to, which is ultimately what talented actors are capable of. However, their reasons become academic in the final analysis. Character beats are predictable. Everything ties up too neatly. And villains get dispatched in a satisfyingly visceral yet mundane fashion.
As I said at the beginning this is a thriller-by-numbers. No surprises, nothing original and only mildly diverting. If there is anything to discuss after Good People has finished it remains the involvement of Wilkinson, Hudson and Franco. Theories welcome on a postcard to the usual address.
Written by Martin Carr
Directed by: Henrik Ruben Genz
Written by: Kelly Masterson
Starring: James Franco, Kate Hudson, Omar Sy, Tom Wilkinson, Sam Spruell
Country: USA / IMDB
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Good People is out now on DVD, Blu-ray and VOD in the UK.