Eye For Film >> Movies >> The Goob (2014) Film Review
Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson
Despite its strong sense of place, there is a skittishness to Guy Myhill's debut that initially feels impressionistic but ultimately seems like carelessness as his narrative weaves unsteadily through its central character's coming of age, unsure where to place its emphasis.
Newcomer Liam Walpole is impressive as The Goob, a scrawny, quiet youngster who lives in the shadow of his mum's boyfriend Gene Womack (Sean Harris). Local farmer and amateur stock car racer Womack, who is 95 per cent rage and five per cent sex drive, is unnaccountably also the local lothario, which along with the fact that the Goob is uncannily pale for a boy who spends 75 per cent of the time with his shirt off is just one several character attributes that don't quite ring true.
The story follows Goob over one hot summer - complete with atmospheric, woozy magic hour shooting from cinematographer Simon Tindall (who more recently did second unit work on Macbeth) and some strong electro-inflected scoring from Luke Abbot. As things with Womack slowly come to a head, Myhill offers up some intriguing possibilities for plot, firstly the stock car community on the frayed rural fringes, which leads to Womack hospitalising Goob's elder brother (almost instantly forgotten about) and Goob's friendship with another older local man (Paul Popplewell, who deserves more to do).
Then there is the promising arrival of his cousin Elliot (Oliver Kennedy), whose gay leanings are suggested by a spot of full-on dancing to Donna Summer's I Feel Love but Myhill seems unwilling to develop this any further than setting up additional confrontation with Womack. Even a late romance plot with young Polish picker (Marama Corlett), is more built out of montage than anything so substantial as dialogue and again just serves to fuel further conflict. In fact, everything in the plot seems geared towards this to the point where the story begins to feel stuck in a loop.
Harris is suitably fierce as Womack but his character is called upon to do things - such as masturbating in a situation where he is almost certain to be caught - that seem highly unlikely for such a control freak, and his power over other, burlier men is never adequately explained. The female characters are also underwritten. There is a lot of potential from Myhill - and it would be great to see what he can do with a more sharply focused script - but his storytelling here feels as though it is being torn in several directions at once, leaving Goob somehow undernourished at its centre.Reviewed on: 25 May 2015