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GOOD FOR NOTHING review by Gerald Wright

Posted by Gerald Wright on March 5, 2012 at 8:25 PM

Directed by: Mike Wallis

Running time: 92 min.

Release date: March 9, 2012

Genre: Western and Drama

Distributor: Screen Media Films

MPAA Rating: R

 

Westerns are the major defining genre of the American film industry - a eulogy to the early days of the expansive American frontier.  They are one of the oldest, most enduring genres with very recognizable plots, elements, and characters (six-guns, horses, dusty towns, cowboys, indians, trails, etc.).

 

In his debut directorial feature film, Mike Wallis has written a off-beat spirited western tale that takes from many elements of this genre.  With experience in visual effects and animation in such films as Lord of the Rings, I,Robot and Avatar, Mike Wallis seems to be going in another direction.  His new film seems to be influenced by the master western filmmakers.  Good For Nothing, has hints of the 1903 short silent film The Great Train Robbery by Edwin S. Porter, to John Ford and Howard Hawks' vivid backdrops of mountains and prairies.  There is also a sense of quirkiness that characterizes high-action and violence in the sense of Italo-Westerns (Spaghetti Westerns) showcasing groups of bandits terrorizing people and small towns.  Yet the Revisionists or Modern Western theme is used to examine women in a more powerful role.

 

British Isabella Montgomery (Inge Rademeyer in a debut performance) recently lost her father in England.  Her strong will takes her to the violent and ruthless American West to take over a ranch left to her in an inheritance.  However, in the opening scenes a bad man (who is nameless) played by Cohen Holloway guns down Isabella's three armed escorts and kidnaps her.  He is mean and fierce, and says very little.  But his eye contact in deliberate in nature.  His nature is to rape Isabella, but he has an erectional dysfunction when it comes to this dispicable deed.  With lean dialogue and spectacular landscape, which is better suited for this visual medium, The Bad Man and Isabella are on the run from a posse who wants him for shooting and killing people.  The posse believes they are a team, although she is very relunctant in staying with him and fleeing at every turn.

 

Cohen Holloway plays a great antagonist in this movie.  His experience in front of the camera is limited.  He is one of the stars in the 2010 New Zealand box office smash Boy, which opens theatrically in the United States this March.  Inge Rademeyer makes a fantastic outing for her debut performance in this film.  She, like Mike Wallis, has a background in visual effects in such films as Avatar, Rise of the Planet of the Apes and King Kong.  Yet, lacking acting experience, she and Cohen Holloway have great chemistry on the screen.

 

 

 The narrative referring to the type of story structure Good For Nothing posesses is unique in the sense that a strange romance blooms as the two learn each others strengths and weaknesses.  The Bad Man is an antagonist, yet the audience finds out over the evenly paced plot that he is also a protagonist.  This is shown as he encounters a variety of obstacles which he must overcome caused by adversaries and other villians.

 

Over time, westerns have been re-defined, re-invented and expanded, dismissed, re-discovered, and spoofed.  Good For Nothing, has added its credentials to this scale of the western genre.  In short, this is fun to watch!

 

FILM RATING (B)       

 

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