Film critic Guy Lodge has reviewed The Goob for Variety.com. See some selected bits below and read the full story here. The film will be featured at the Venice Film festival soon.
The louring skies and flat, scrubby landscape of Norfolk — an English county less frequently caressed on film than its lusher counterparts — lend an atmosphere of eerie distinction to otherwise well-tilled coming-of-age territory in “The Goob.” Guy Myhill’s uninvitingly titled debut feature gets significant mileage out of its golden-hour lensing and the bristly charisma of its younger cast members, but seems torn between manifold narrative possibilities in its story of a 16-year-old lad manning up against his mother’s boorish b.f. Heavy on incident but light on overarching direction, “The Goob” never escapes the sense that Myhill has rolled a number of viable first-film ideas into one, but the more arresting aspects of its construction and setting (notably the region’s raucous stock-car racing scene) should catch the eye of further fest programmers and some boutique distribs.
There are several visual compositions in Myhill’s film — two boys straddling a motorcycle, or smoking side-by-side on the grass — that recall Pawel Pawlikowski’s “My Summer of Love,” another story of ungainly innocence lost against the backdrop of the not-always-balmy British summer. Whether these echoes are intentional or otherwise, Myhill is working in the same register of sensual realism practiced by the likes of Pawlikowski and Andrea Arnold, with abrasive kitchen-skin dramatics counterbalanced by woozy ambient detail. Whenever “The Goob” looks likely to dive headlong into atmospheric or erotic reverie, however, the restless, episodic script steers it in another direction; it’s a film, rather like its frustrated title character, that could stand a little more release.
Walpole’s unaffectedly gangly, disarming performance keeps “The Goob” on an even keel, though it’s Harris’ name and stark, singular presence that might lure distributors, particularly in the immediate wake of the actor’s celebrated, BAFTA-winning work in TV’s “Southcliffe.” Myhill and casting director Kharmel Cochrane are to be commended for consolidating the film’s strong sense of local color by constructing the film’s ensemble almost entirely from native Norfolk actors, down to former pop moppet Hannah Spearritt (of S Club 7 fame) in a sizable supporting role.