Good Favour review: When a stranger calls, strange things happen

The third film from Irish director Rebecca Daly suggests and hints toward the supernatural without ever being explicit

Good Favour, directed by Rebecca Daly

Film Title: Good Favour

Director: Rebecca Daly

Starring: Vincent Romeo, Lars Brygmann, Clara Rugaard, Alexandre Willaume, Victoria Mayer, Helena Coppejans

Genre: Drama

Running Time: 101 min

Thu, Nov 1, 2018, 07:00

   

A sickly young man emerges from dark woodland and stumbles toward a cluster of wooden cabins. These belong to an isolated Christian community, defined by its isolation from the modern world. Save for a pick-up truck that allows the villagers top drive their honey to market, this might be a Hutterite colony. When the feverish stranger collapses, he is tended to by Maria (Victoria Mayer) and her daughter, Shoshanna (Clara Rugaard). When he regains consciousness, he is able to tell the elders that his name is Tom, but not much more. The leader of the colony welcomes Tom (Vincent Romeo), while the patriarch of his host family remains suspicious.

The slow pace of life among the community masks a sense of unease. Of late, calves have been stillborn and a little boy has gone missing in the surrounding forest. Tom seems to be a good omen, especially for the children, who enthusiastically flock around him. He develops a particular bond with Shosanna, until a strange “drowning” incident causes ripples and finally, a quiet revolution.

Following on from the heated emotional entanglements of Mammal, Rebecca Daly’s surefooted third feature maintains a cool detachment from the fractured community it depicts. Vincent Romeo’s Tom is as enigmatic at the film’s denouement as he is upon his mysterious introduction.

Working with her regular co-writer Glenn Montgomery, Daly suggests and hints toward the supernatural without ever being explicit. Is Tom some kind of elemental force? Can he bring people back from the dead? Is he a kind of Pied Piper? And just what is the significance of the deer that we occasionally encounter?

These and other questions dangle tantalisingly. Good Favour casts enough of a spell to compensate for its ambiguities. The forest setting and the oddly pleasing sound of an English language script delivered by a varied European ensemble makes for a space in which anything is possible. In common with its inscrutable protagonist, it requires you to follow deep into the woods.

Good Favour opens on November 9th