Good People (2014) Film Review – Hard to See the Good Side

Good things don’t always come to those who wait. When watching Good People, you’ll be waiting till the credits roll.

               Directed by Henrik Ruben Genz and based on the well-received novel by Marcus Sakey, Good People is a story of survival. The Wrights (Kate Hudson and James Franco) discover a bag of cash in the apartment (their basement) of their dead tenant, cash which unbeknownst to them was stolen twice, once from a drug lord and then again from the accomplice thieves. The Wrights are faced with a moral dilemma: be the good guys and turn the cash in or keep it for themselves and solve their extensive financial woes.

               I’ll give you one guess as to which way they went. 
               Unfortunately for the Wrights, both the drug lord and accomplice thieves have figured out they have the cash and are prepared to break more than a fistful of fingers to get it back. Thus chaos ensues, a lot of which is not that original.

                Good People is an example of a formula story, one which we all know and, some of us, loathe by now: Average Joe steals from crooks, Average Joe threatened by crooks, Average Joe tries to outsmart the crooks and fails, Average Joe gets roughed up then decides to enough is enough and defeats all crooks in a final confrontation filled with unrealistic an uncharacteristically ingenious traps/tricks/gunfights. Everyone involved is conveniently killed and Average Joe goes on with his life as if he hasn’t murdered numerous, albeit bad, people and caused natural disaster scale property damage. There’s lots of action, gratuitous violence, contrived characters and cliched dialogue wrapped up in a neat little mediocre package for the viewer. Good People never offers up anything more than exactly what is expected.

That being said, the opening scenes are rich with gorgeous dark cinematography featuring inner London skylines and streets, and there is an undeniable thread of tension and anticipation during the initial robbery. After this point though, the movie lulls into a claustrophobic comfort-zone of genre conventions, information dumping through dialogue and predictable plot twists. Even the all-star cast performs poorly, seeming just as unexcited by this movie as I am. It took commitment to see Good People through to the end, and a more discerning viewer may find it too great a test to their patience and attention span.

Six out of ten.
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