Writer/director Tom Stuart’s short film Good Boy from the United Kingdom is a funny, surreal, and surprisingly touching ride by the end of its just under sixteen minutes of runtime. The movie follows Danny (Ben Whishaw), who has run out of luck and money, as he tries to turn his life around by force of will and a gun. Unfortunately for him, seemingly every turn comes with comical, absurd, and disastrous results.
“…Danny…who has run out of luck and money…”
Danny’s mom, Jackie (Marion Bailey), hovers over her son constantly (but at least sometimes it comes with a smile) in their van, as does a Vegas-era Elvis figure from the dashboard. The two leads, Whishaw and Bailey, are both magnetic in their roles, commanding the screen in a way that I could see working for a feature-length film. The rest of the supporting cast is essential as well, such as Dino Fetscher as Leon, a helpful convenience store employee, and Paul Chahidi as a doctor with some pressing news for Danny that he doesn’t want to hear because they are adept at keeping the surreal tone going.
I say that Good Boy is surprisingly touching because humor and drama are quite difficult to pull off together. Stuart’s masterful direction, Adam Singodia’s eye-popping cinematography, Joe Wilson’s simple yet effective score (I also thoroughly enjoyed the closing song “Electricity” performed by Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark), and perhaps most importantly, Whishaw nailing the dramatic moment that the entire film hinges on are what makes it work, and not just work but excel. I thoroughly enjoyed the unpredictability of it all, like when Danny shoots his gun and hits something unexpected. As an audience member, you don’t know what is around the corner, and that’s where the fun (along with the humor) of this movie is found.
"…you don’t know what is around the corner, and that’s where the fun (along with the humor) of this movie is found. "