Things are getting worse, right? Left/right, liberal/conservative. It’s just a matter of time before the divide becomes so vast, it can no longer be bridged, or am I blowing this out of proportion. “I’m right! You’re evil” is the rallying cry. All these questions come to mind in Brett Chapman and James Phillips’ short film, The Good Book.
Our story takes place in the not-so-distant future in the city of Leeds. The queen, known as Bear, assumed power via a populist movement of loyalists. Queen Bear is in the process of re-igniting Arthurian rule, but its “abuse” of power has led rise to an equally strong counter-movement known as the Followers of Galahad. They are hell-bent on civil war, and tonight’s target is the library for a good ol’ fashioned book burning.
The air is tense, and for the young Avalon (Riana Duce), she is resolute in not taking sides. Every day she sends a video report of the current climate to an unknown friend via text. Today, she’s meeting a contact, Frank (John Poulter), at the local pub. His alliances are not clear, but he seems to piss everyone off. Tensions arise when Avalon is spotted by one of her classmates, Vivian (Katie Eldred), wanting her to attend the Galahadian protest at the library. Frank soon challenges Vivian’s book-burning ceremony. As violence erupts at the pub, Frank is arrest and slips Avalon a note before being dragged off by the authorities.
“…hell-bent on civil war, and tonight’s target is the library for a good ol’ fashioned book burning.”
Now out of harm’s way, Avalon discovers the note is the library code for a book. As she moves her way through the protest, Avalon enters the library and the code is for John Milton’s Areopagitica, which contains another coded note. It’s here she runs into a sympathetic Geraint (Angus Imrie), who will help Avalon build a faction of peace between the two sides.
There was a time when my youthful indoctrination in the fundamentalist church attempted to control everything about my life, including the way I dressed, acted, spoke, and what I believed for God’s sake. Any small variation/violation of this code for living and thinking was met with threats of ex-communication and public shaming. Today, things are different. Political Correctness has replaced my church and now this PC culture tells me how to act, think, and speak in fear of being #cancelled. So, who’s right? The Good Book now becomes a thinker of a movie.
On the lighter side, The Good Book is also a community production. It boasts a cast of known English actors as well as over 100 members of the local Leeds community. The production values are quite impressive. Director Brett Chapman makes good use of his city’s locations. However, the costuming of the police feels like it came from community theater—minor point. The overall look of the film is nothing but professional. One good tip for a good mob scene is to get your local community involved.
The Good Book follows the life of a young woman committed to the center, and her dangerous journey standing up for some semblance of sanity. Some might think this is a cautionary tale of things to come, or maybe we’re just freaking ourselves out. I love a story that takes us straight down the middle of an issue and shows us what we all have in common…good or bad.
"…boasts a cast of known English actors as well as over 100 members of the local Leeds community."