Director: Guy Myhill
Starring: Sienna Guillory, Liam Walpole, Sean Harris, Hannah Spearitt, Marama Corlett, Paul Popplewell
Written by: Guy Myhill
Running Time: 84 mins
Release date: 29th May 2015
The Goob is a coming-of-age film that, while being a low-budget British affair set in Norfolk, it feels like it wants to escape just being another rural tale of teenage life, instead we are sent down a rather brutish and uncomfortable world in which a lanky school leaver spends a Summer not only becoming a man but a protector from the most vile human being around. Yes, this is not a cute, cuddle-up film.
Goob Taylor has just left school. Living with his mother, she has a boyfriend, stock car racer and womanizer Womack, who seems to have a hold over everything that happens in the small rural farmland of fruit and vegetable picking. While Goob looks on almost helpless at what is almost happening to his mother, he finds himself having to grow up with his own emotions and feelings.
Debut director and writer Guy Myhill has presented us with a raw, energetic drama that uses the backdrop of Norfolk brilliantly. Cinematographer Simon Tindell gives the place an almost unworldly feel about it, as we follow the characters living and working in this vast fern land. Even though there’s that huge backdrop, you get the feeling of claustrophobia, of these people almost suffocating.
Then there’s the tension that Myhill slowly builds. We can see that the relationship between Goob and Womack is teetering on the edge, yet you sit patiently waiting for that time when the clash will happen. Myhill doesn’t rush the pacing, instead slowly as we watch Goob watching this monster going from woman to woman while keeping his own mother almost locked up psychologically.
Where the film falls down is in the plot. The story is slight and somewhat episodic. You don’t get a feeling of completion, especially in the subplots, which seem to wither and fade without closure. The female characters are badly underwritten, leaving them to flounder. Only Goob’s mother has the most fleshed-out part among the women. Most of the focus is on the young teenager and the overbearing stock car racer.
While the parts may be a little shallow, the women do a terrific job. S Club 7 member Hannah Spearritt makes the most of her role of the young girl trapped in a dead-end job working in Goob’s mother’s burger bar, while Marama Corlett as Eva, the farm worker who captures the attention of both Goob and Womack, brings plenty of energy to the role.
At the centre of it all are the three leads. In his debut, Liam Walpole in the title role is magnificent. A lanky, painfully thin youth who quietly moves through the film, his is a brilliantly naturalistic and nicely underplayed performance, showing a young actor with a great future ahead. Sienna Guillory as Goob’s mother, Janet, is heartbreaking. a woman trapped by a man who only wants to love and protect her son. Sean Harris, known for playing these psychotic males, gets to go full nuts as Womack, a disgusting, vile excuse of a human being. His looming overbearing persona haunts the whole film.
The Goob is an unsettling tale that has much to recommend and yet it does fail to really hit the mark. Even though it look terrific and the performances are great, it lacks that punch to make it an out-and-out masterpiece. Instead it’s a noteworthy film that promises greater things for all involved.