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Good Boy, The (DVD Review)

28 Sep, 2008 By: Anne Sherber

Good Boy

Street 9/30/08
Picture This!
$26.95 DVD
Not rated.
In Spanish with English subtitles.
Stars Darío Grandinetti, Álex González, Eva Marciel, Laura Aparicio.

In The Good Boy, González plays an aspiring boxer named Angel, who is trained by a fatherly gym owner for his shot at the big time. Out of the ring, Angel’s life is a struggle. From the slums of South Madrid to the small apartment he shares with his once lovely and now broken mother, Angel is surrounded by poverty, crime and squalor.

A charismatic and mysterious man appears at the gym and engages Angel in conversation, eventually revealing that he knew Angel’s now-dead father. He introduces Angel to his opulent lifestyle. Once the young man’s guard is down, the older man confesses that he is a bank robber who, for reasons that are unclear, wants very much for Angel to become his partner.

After an easily accomplished and lucrative first try as a bank robber, Angel is seduced by the sudden influx of cash, and his values begin to erode.

The Good Boy is a meditation on some very big questions: Is conventional morality a luxury that poor people cannot afford? Is loyalty more valuable than material wealth? Although the film asks many important questions, the answers are less available and the film is ultimately and refreshingly open-ended.

The performances in The Good Boy are uniformly remarkable. González articulates all of Angel’s conflicts with compassion and clarity. And Grandinetti is palpably seductive as a man who has long since abandoned conventional morality in the pursuit of wealth and comfort but whose unresolved family issues are his last tethers to a more socially acceptable path.

The Good Boy is not only an insightful character study, it is also a clear and dramatic window into a world unfamiliar to many viewers. Consumers interested in razor-sharp world cinema will be transfixed by The Good Boy.

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