Good Boy


Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

Good Boy
"Love, loss and laughter come together." | Photo: 130 Elektra Films

Love, loss and laughter come together in Tom Stuart's Good Boy, an Oscar-qualifying short that is helped enormously by the presence of Ben Whishaw and Marion Bailey (perhaps best known these days for playing the Queen Mum in the Crown).

Whishaw stars as Danny, a nervous sort who is having a very bad day when we meet him, not least because he's in the early stages of what he hopes will be a bank heist. It turns out that the VW camper van he's in, isn't just packed with ephemera but also has his mum (Bailey) in the back, a relationship that will bend and flex throughout the course of the film.

Stuart's film feels lived in, not just in terms of the look, although the production design from Paul Zabih and the slightly retro costuming from Gabriela Yiaxis are both excellent, particularly when it comes to the contents of the van, which are there for a reason that is gradually revealed. But it is also inhabited in an emotional sense, full of the clutter of Danny's thoughts as he tries to work through things in his own way, a way which brings a spiky surrealism to events as the short wears on.

Whishaw has always been adept at bringing fragility to performances and he barely cloaks Danny's emotions here, Bailey meanwhile proves a sparky foil, robust and exuberant, larger than life, you might say. Stuart shows ambition to go beyond straightforward drama and the short form is perfectly sized for this bite of a story that holds out hope like the offer of tea and biscuit on a bad day.

Reviewed on: 20 Dec 2023
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Good Boy packshot
A man's plans go awry thanks to his mum.

Director: Tom Stuart

Writer: Tom Stuart

Starring: Marion Bailey, Ben Whishaw, Dino Fetscher, Paul Chahidi, Mark Monero, Bettrys Jones, Jocelyn Jee Esien, Tommy Belshaw, Ephraim Sampson

Year: 2023

Runtime: 16 minutes

Country: UK

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