They say money is the root of all evil and on occasion, it is but in some instances, it can be very necessary and used for good. In the new gritty thriller Good People, human nature and ethics are examined when money becomes the source of a major story conflict. The film benefits not only from a taut script but from a strong central cast. James Franco, Kate Hudson, Tom Wilkinson and Omar Sy elevate the film to great heights and it is a movie that is both subtle and suspenseful, drawing the audience in with its clever plot and fine performances.
Happy young couple Tom (Franco) and Anna Wright (Hudson) are two Americans living in London who have fallen on hard times. They are attempting to renovate their apartment but have recently fallen into severe debt. Struggling and unsure what their next move is, they continue to move along in a pessimistic state. That is until, they find their neighbor dead in his apartment and they come across a large fortune in cash. Now, faced with a moral predicament and a police detective eyeing them very closely, not to mention, violent gangsters who want their money back, Good People has all the makings of deeply layered and gripping dramatic thriller.
Kate Hudson stands out here as a tough young woman who doesn’t take crap from anyone, even scary men with guns. James Franco, sadly, does not portray a masculine hero and he just seems kind of whiny and vulnerable as he gets roughed up by those wanting their money back. Tom Wilkinson adds a touch of class here as a detective trying to get to the bottom of the mystery of the money. He also has a backstory involving a wife and kid that could serve as the basis of another tight thriller but nevertheless, his performance in Good People is that of a truly gifted thespian. In addition, Omar Sy plays one of the thugs and he generates an adequate amount of tension to the proceedings.
Good People is a dark and captivating thriller through and through. With the highly talented cast reciting screenwriter Kelly Masterson’s sharp dialogue (adapted from a novel by Marcus Sakey) and the expert precision of director Henrik Ruben Genz, this is a film that will definitely keep you glued to your seat. Tales about the downtrodden who rise up and end up doing great things resonate strongly with audiences and even stories about those who don’t rise up make for some pretty decent cinema. Good People falls under the latter category.
Kate Hudson has never been better and Good People has brought out a new side of the beautiful young actress. She usually wastes audiences time with syrupy romantic comedies, entertaining love-starved women and at the same time, repulsing macho male viewers. Her role here as Anna Wright is that of strength and heroism; she’s tough and resourceful, making for a rather formidable leading lady. The rest of the cast in Good People is talented; don’t get me wrong but this is simply Hudson’s film, without a doubt. There aren’t huge explosions or overlong gun battles in this film, just a good story, a solid cast and a highly skilled crew that knows exactly what they’re doing.
Good People will have a limited theatrical release on September 26, 2014