By Adam Turner @
Good People is a Danish director’s befuddled idea of a British action/gangster thriller featuring James Franco and Kate Hudson (The Wrights). The Wrights are a cash-strapped American couple who’ve moved to London for a fresh start and are in the process of renovating a house, inherited from a deceased relative, when they’re thrown a financial lifeline. A huge wad of money almost literally drops on their doorstep and they’re faced with the ‘tough’ decision of whether or not to keep it. The cash, of course, belongs to a London thug who’s eager to get it back, by hook or by finger-bending crook.
Director Henrik-Ruben Benz gets this pound shop gangster film (think Guy Ritchie meets Danny Dyer) shambolically wrong. The music is like the theme track to a chronic migraine and the scene setting is far off the mark. His stereotypical portrayal of London is something from a bygone era, where gangsters don cheap leather jackets, thick gold chains, hang out in pool bars and squawk at each other in cockney rhyming slang.
The plot is as confused as the director’s interpretation of the capital’s underworld. Both Franco and Hudson fail to impress in their respective leading roles as Tom and Anna Wright. Hudson is a dreary, naive teacher and Franco a Masters grad come DIY man who are faced with the dilemma of whether or not to take the £220,000 they found in their dead tenant’s ceiling… they are, after all, ‘good people’.
Sam Spruell is average as grunting cockney goon, Jack Witkowski, who is in hot pursuit of the Wright’s cash and there’s also a bizarre cameo from a French mobster called Khan (Omar Sy), who also apparently has a stake in the riches, too. As if there are not enough cooks involved in this diluted, implausible broth, there’s another chef to add to it, in the shape of a lone, vengeful policeman called DI John Halden (Tom Wilkinson), who’s on a mission to take down Witkowski. The film baffles throughout, jumping from a two-bit London gangster film to a graphic horror.
The final scene sees every man and his dog turn up at, what I can only describe as, a more sinister version of Kevin McCallister’s house of mischief from Home Alone 2. Nail guns, creaky floorboards and a cocktail of baddies’ blood makes for a laughably gruesome and predictable end.
Good People is out in cinemas now, it was released September 26th.