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Goob, The


Stars: Liam Walpole, Sean Harris, Sienna Guillory, Oliver Kennedy, Paul Popplewell, Hannah Spearritt, Marama Corlett, Martin Ferguson, Kirianne Busby, Rosa French

Director: Guy Myhill

If for some reason you miss the opening credits of this rather too familiar coming-of-age drama and noticed the tidal wave of four-letter words spattering the not particularly notable dialogue then you could be forgiven if you naturally assumed that The Goob was a Channel 4 film.

But it’s not. The foul-mouthed movie, which also features large helpings of nudity and simulated sex, has already been paid for twice by potential cinemagoers, through the British Film Institute who dole out Lottery money and by the BBC who seem never happier than when spending your TV licence money.

So even if you’re a cinema completist, you can save your cash and wait to see it on the small screen.

Writer-director Guy Myhill’s movie (The Goob marks his feature debut) visits one coming-of-age cliché after another, so that, in the final analysis, his film emerges without a great deal new to say, apart from excellent use of rural Norfolk locations which add vital impact to the often trite tale, thanks to Simon Tindall’s fine cinematography.

Norfolk-born Liam Walpole, making his acting debut here, does rather more than might be expected of him to make his character more memorable than the clichés surrounding him.

The story is simple and, in essence, resembles an above-average film school project or, at best, another small-screen movie that, cinematography apart, would be best used as a late-night TV movie.

Walpole has spent his last 16 summers helping his single mother Sienna Guillory operate their roadside diner and work in the surrounding pumpkin (serendipitously Myhill makes no references to Halloween) fields.

Enter the dramatic catalyst – unpleasant tattooed stock-car racer Sean Harris who takes up with Guillory and takes his unpleasantness out on Walpole.

Which triggers off Walpole’s journey as he is – frequently far from convincingly - forced to mutate into a 16-year-old ‘adult’…

Result – a visually attractive but dramatically and intellectually over-familiar story that feels longer than its actual running time.

Alan Frank

USA 2015. UK Distributor: Soda Pictures. Colour by Panalux.
85 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 18.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 3, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 2, Swearing 3.

Review date: 24 May 2015