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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Bad Lucky Goat
Bad Lucky Goat
Film Movement // Unrated // December 12, 2017
List Price: $24.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Tyler Foster | posted May 11, 2018 | E-mail the Author
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C O N T E N T
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Siblings Corn (Honlenny Huffington) and Rita (Kiara Howard) are your average brother and sister -- constantly bickering, tormenting one another. Corn dreams of being a musician and getting away from the island and the hotel their parents run, while Rita chats with her friend about cute boys and mostly seems anxious to grow up so that her headstrong attitude gets more respect. While running an errand for their parents, Corn and Rita are thrown into a 24-hour adventure that will take them all over the island, into peril and out of it, when they accidentally run over a wayward goat with the family truck and need to figure out how to get it repaired.

Bad Lucky Goat is a charming but somewhat simple adventure story, anchored by beautiful visuals and plenty of local flavor but showing hints of repetition even across its scant 76-minute running time. As the debut of writer/director Samir Oliveros, the film is solid and free of significant problems, but the story doesn't really dig any deeper than the antics his characters get themselves into trying to solve their situation.

The best part of the movie is the cultural backdrop Oliveros has at his disposal. Corn decides the best way to make the money they need to fix the truck is to sell off as much of the dead goat as possible, which leads them to a suspicious butcher, to a man (Elkin Robinson) in a band that sits in the water and blows into drums and bottles, to a pawnshop owner (Ambrosio Huffington) whose offers drop sharply the more his customers attempt to barter, to a raucous cockfighting ring, and into the path of a local gangster who believes the dead goat was one of his prized possessions. Along the way, Oliveros steps back and lets the natural vibrancy of the world and people around his two leads take over.

Somewhat less successful is the relationship between Corn and Rita. Corn is a well-developed character with a clear dream, but Rita is comparatively less fleshed out. There is a sense that the language barrier helps to cover up a pair of somewhat limited performances, with their constant bickering taking on a familiar feel as the movie goes on. There is certainly a ring of truth to their relationship, but that truth feels simplistic and somewhat shallow, angling for larger sentiment than the movie earns. A subthread about Corn's superstitions also feels a bit undercooked.

There is nothing particularly wrong with Bad Lucky Goat. The film is visually dazzling -- not just as a portrait of the Colombian Caribbean but also in a couple of choice moments involving the goat and some spiritual juju -- and the movie is sweet and funny. Still, it's not likely to make much of a lasting impact, the memories of the adventure within floating promptly away on the gentle tide.

The DVD
Bad Lucky Goat's artwork gets most of the important elements into a collage: Corn and Rita, the goat, the busted truck, some of the palm trees, and the local cop. Heck, even the butcher and the bottle-playing guys are slipped in there. The package has a nice light-blue-and-yellow color scheme that fits the vibrant cinematography. As is customary for Film Movement, the one-disc release comes in a transparent Amaray case so notes from the company and the director about the selection of the film can be seen showing through on the reverse of the sleeve, and there is a booklet advertising other Film Movement releases.

The Video and Audio
Despite the film's brief 76-minute running time leaving ample room on the disc, the 2.39:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer here leaves something to be desired in the fine detail arena. On the positive side, colors are quite lush and vivid, capturing the movie's wide and eye-catching palette, and close-ups look fine. However, whenever the camera moves out to a medium or wide shot, compression artifacts creep into the image, especially on complex patterns of leaves and branches that often provide a backdrop. Sound is a Creole Dolby Digital 5.1 track that has no issues capturing the low-fi dialogue-driven audio of the film, with a 2.0 track also included, as well as English subtitles.

The Extras
The only extra on this disc is Film Movement's customary short film. In this case, the short is miss world, a relatively charming piece about an impulsive daughter (Liao Ya Jun) struggling to connect with her uncommunicative father (Zhang Guo Zhu) on the last day before he goes to prison for five years for an unspecified crime. Directed by Georgia Fu and shot on location in Taiwan, this little character piece has certain stylistic touches that evoke Wong-Kar Wai, with a younger energy. Jun has the magnetism of a future star. Arguably better than the feature.

Conclusion
Bad Lucky Goat is a nice, if fairly shallow film. Most viewers will find themselves charmed even if the picture doesn't have much to offer beyond endearing local flavor. Lightly recommended.


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