Director/Writer: Guy Myhill
Sean Harris, Sienna Guillory, Hannah Popplewell, Marama Corlett, Oliver Kennedy, Liam Walpole
In his enigmatic debut, Guy Myhill evokes the open spaces of the Norfolk countryside veiled in golden summer. This unsettling coming of age story pits a young man’s burgeoning sexuality against that of his mother’s boorish boyfriend – an avid stock-car racing champion and local grower.
Simon Tindall’s ethereal camera-work captures the rough and ready allure of this farming landscape and its gutsy inhabitants recalling that motorcycle opening sequence of Lawrence of Arabia with a soft-focus arthouse twist that contrasts well with a pumping score of hits that include Donna Summer. Bristling with sexual tension and dreamy awakenings from childhood to young adulthood in the Fens, it teases with an enigmatic storyline that weaves into focus then departs again in a different direction, never quite revealing itself but conjuring up a family in turmoil.
‘The Goob’ is newcomer Liam Walpole who lives with his single mother Janet (Sienna Guillory) and her vicious partner Gene (Sean Harris) in a run down shack of a roadside cafe. Gene Womack dislikes the boy and makes no bones about showing it. Matters worsen when the Goob and his brother crash Gene’s prize-winning car in a boy-racing moment, which results in forced labour on the beet farm for the Goob, threatening to curtail a potential relationship. He does however stoke up new friendships with gay farm-hand Elliott (a buzzy Oliver Kennedy) and Eva (Marama Corlett) another picker who takes a shine to him during an impromptu midnight party in one of Gene’s fields.
This is a story that brims with intrigue and erotic tension not only between the Goob and Eva, but also in enigmatic subplots where there’s a constant suggestion that Gene (a spiteful, mincing Harris) is drawn to the other female characters – but quite why Janet is involved with him remains a mystery. Guillory’s character remains unexplored – a shame for such a brilliant actress. The intensity of the racing fraternity adds a rough machismo to the narrative, adding grit and texture and placing it firmly in Swaffham and the locale. The cast is also almost entirely drawn from Norfolk. Liam Walpole has a gangly vulnerability about him which brings a unique appeal and gentleness and contrasts well with the otherwise hard-bitten, rough-edged masculinity of Sean Harris. This is a spectacular debut for Myhill with some great ideas that could be expanded upon in future. A really watchable indie Britflick. MT
THE GOOB – reviewed at VENICE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 27 August – 6 September 2014 is coming to British screens from May 28, 2015.