The Goob | 2014 London BFI Film Festival Review
Goober is Great: Norfolk Sets the Scene for Myhill’s Debut
Rebellious youths riding motorbikes down dirt roads aside, while there are some similarities to Pawel Pawlikoski’s My Summer of Love and this Norfolk, England set story of a dim-witted teen nicknamed Goob, writer-director Guy Myhill strikes a verve of his own in this quixotic feature debut. With cinematographer Simon Tindall providing dreamy summertime shots of fields of wheat adding romanticism to the humdrumness of rural living and Luke Abbott’s unusual electronic soundtrack setting the film firmly in youth culture and contrasting the stillness of the small town’s atmosphere, The Goob announces the arrival of a new British talent worth keeping tabs on.
The first time we meet 16-year-old Goob (Liam Walpole) he is getting off a school bus in his underwear and running through fields while his classmates cheer on. This is the mood of the entire piece; guiding us through Goob’s carefree existence on his summer holidays, jumping into lakes, hiding in pumpkin patches and drinking around campfires. When he’s not larking about with friends, he helps out in his mum’s greasy spoon café, and tries to stay away from her aggressive new boyfriend Womack (Sean Harris).
Newcomer Walpole is excellent as the gawky and awkward Goob, unsure of himself or how to protect his vulnerable mother from her bad choices in men. Sean Harris is reliably limber in his role as hard man/step dad, as we’ve seen in Harry Brown, Brighton Rock and Southcliffe.
Stylistically, Myhill’s film recalls Clio Barnard’s The Selfish Giant, which was also nominated for the Best British Newcomer last year. It is the moments of pure quiet in the countryside contrasted with raucous parties and joyriding in beaten up cars that makes The Goob an unpredictable watch and an exhilarating journey.
Reviewed on October 10th at the 2014 London BFI Film Festival – First Feature Competition. 86 Minutes