Good People (2 stars)

Good People

Inconsistent, sometimes silly thriller starring Kate Hudson and James Franco

Bad things happen to good people and so do bad movies if this Henrik Ruben Genz potboiler is any indication. Despite a seasoned cast that ranges from James Franco to old reliable Tom Wilkinson, this awkward fusion of Shallow Grave and Home Alone never amounts to a credible or compelling tale.

American schoolteacher Anna Wright (Kate Hudson) and her landscape architect husband Tom (Franco) have relocated to London and poured their savings into restoring an inherited house. Financial woes are mounting and eviction is only a matter of days away when they discover their dodgy lodger dead in the basement and a substantial stash of cash hidden in the ceiling. Weary detective John Halden (Wilkinson) suspects the money will be impossible to resist, but the couple could prove tasty bait for the rum villains who will stop at nothing to get it back.

Moral dilemmas raised in the first half of the film are largely discarded in the increasingly nonsensical second half, as Anna and Tom go all Macaulay Culkin on us, confronting their relentless tormentors in their booby-trapped wreck of a house.

Silly and jarringly violent in places, Good People fails to convincingly unite its disparate plot-strands, lumbering Anna Friel with an especially redundant role as Anna’s loyal best friend Sarah. Wilkinson brings gravitas to his grief-stricken, vengeance-seeking detective and Omar Sy is on enjoyable, scenery-chewing form as flamboyant French drug lord Khan. The trouble is they belong in very different films: a social-realist British TV drama for the former perhaps, and a Luc Besson blow-out for the latter.

The ubiquitous Franco and the perpetually underserved Hudson walk through with their professionalism intact, but Good People is not going to take pride of place on anyone’s CV.

General release from Fri 21 Aug.

Good People

  • 2 stars
  • 2014
  • US / UK
  • 1h 30min
  • 15
  • Directed by: Henrik Ruben Genz
  • Written by: Kelly Masterson, Marcus Sakey
  • Cast: James Franco, Kate Hudson, Tom Wilkinson
  • UK release: 21 August 2015

When American teacher Anna (Hudson) and her architect husband Tom (Franco) find a dead lodger and a bag of cash in their new London home, they keep the cash, with disastrous consequences. Silly and jarring violent thriller which only goes to show that bad movies can happen to good actors.