The Goob (2015)
The Goob (2015)
Director: Guy Myhill
Cast: Sean Harris, Sienna Guillory, Hannah Spearritt
Synopsis: A long hot summer in rural Norfolk and a rough coming of age for Goob Taylor,fighting with brutal,womanizing stock car racer Gene Womack for his mother’s attention ,and falling for the exotic charms of a pretty foreign field worker.
Although it’s a coming-of-age drama that strays perilously close to cliche at times, Guy Myhill’s The Goob benefits from its unusual location and sharply observed characters. Set in the forbiddingly beautiful flatlands of rural Norfolk, it tells the story of the title character’s first summer after leaving school. “Have a good life, if you can get out of this shit hole” says the driver of the bus taking him home from school for the last time, but Goob (newcomer Liam Walpole) seems to have no desire to break free from the paradoxically confining wide open spaces in which he lives. His mother Sienna Guillory) is a pitiful figure. 40ish and still attractive, she’s massively insecure about her relationship with bullying womaniser Glenn Womack (Sean Harris – A Lonely Place to Die, ’71), who tolerates Goob’s presence, but makes little effort to hide his antipathy towards the young man.
Womack is the most sharply observed figure in this sad drama about people barely aware of the trap in which they are ensnared, and from which they are ill-equipped to escape. He’s a man whose ill-tempered, aggressive masculinity masks his own set of insecurities, but who lacks the intelligence to identify the source of his frustrations; a stock car racer willing to cheat in order to obtain victories which are essentially meaningless and merely symbolise a life that is filled with fury but going nowhere. Sean Harris gives the mean-spirited Womack an air of simmering hostility that radiates danger but which is, ultimately, transparently pathetic
Goob’s life drifts along through the summer. He befriends an openly gay young man (Oliver Kennedy) who brings some much-needed light relief to life before feeling Womack’s wrath after ill-advisedly lampooning him, and begins a relationship with a pretty migrant worker (Marama Corlett) who also catches Womack’s eye. A confrontation is inevitable, but its outcome is both unexpected and poignant, and illustrates that, while Myhill’s screenplay flirts with convention, it’s also prepared to go in unexpected directions. The Goob is a slight film; it moves slowly and is vaguely depressing. Emotions are implied in a gaze by characters who are incapable of any meaningful articulation and who seethe or worry over the hand that’s been dealt them without ever thinking of striving for better. By the end of it, Goob has acquired a new maturity but it comes at a high price, and offers no hope of escape.
(Reviewed 9th October 2015)