Reviews & Columns
Reviews
DVD
TV on DVD
Blu-ray
4K UHD
International DVDs
In Theaters
Reviews by Studio
Video Games

Features
Collector Series DVDs
Easter Egg Database
Interviews
DVD Talk Radio
Feature Articles

Columns
Anime Talk
DVD Savant
Horror DVDs
The M.O.D. Squad
Art House
HD Talk
Silent DVD

discussion forum
DVD Talk Forum

Resources
DVD Price Search
Customer Service #'s
RCE Info
Links

Columns




Good Boy, The

Picture This! // Unrated // September 30, 2008
List Price: $26.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Cameron McGaughy | posted September 17, 2008 | E-mail the Author
"If you have a mediocre career, you quit early and have fond memories. The winning stuff is for movies. We're all here to lose...every last one of us."
--Vidal

The Movie
Don't be confused...The Good Boy is not a boxing movie. It's also not a heist movie. Those two elements are just vehicles to tell the story of a young man's struggle, one fraught with bad influences and bad decisions.

This 2005 Spanish entry from director/story developer Daniel Cebrián picked up a few minor award wins and nominations, primarily for the performance of Álex González. He plays Angel, a promising boxer trying to make a life for himself in Madrid. But when a hand injury--and a reduction in hours at his part-time job as a mover--slows him down, things look bleak. In walks Vidal (Darío Grandinetti), a former boxer who claims to have known Angel's father--a successful fighter who died before Angel was born, leaving his mother (Maru Valdivielso) to raise him.

Angel and his girlfriend Alicia (Eva Marciel) are intrigued by Vidal and his lover Pilar (Laura Aparicio)--who lead high-rolling lifestyles that soon tempt the young couple. "What do you do now?" asks Alicia of Vidal, whose answer ("I rob banks") isn't a joke. While Angel initially scoffs at the notion of helping Vidal on two new heists, he is soon swayed after his mother faces potential eviction from her family home. He also gets pressure from Alicia ("I don't want to spend my life with a dumb mover, or a washed-up boxer"), who soon gets a job answering phones at Pilar's "modeling" agency.

Vidal's troubling influence is noticed by Paco (Pepo Oliva), the coach who helped Angel's mother raise him--and the only father figure the young man has ever known. Paco tries to warn Angel's mom--and dissuade Vidal from influencing Angel. But when the boxer's troubled best friend asks for a selfish favor, Angel makes a decision that could prove costly--and Vidal's claim that "humans are manure, every last one of us" starts to prove achingly true.

The Good Boy is more of an introspective character study than anything else: the boxing isn't used as a metaphor or portrayed as an escape for Angel--it's just a means to an end. And the film's caper isn't a tension-filled sequence meant to have you biting your nails--it's just the impetus that forces Angel to reflect on his beliefs, ideals and morals. Those are constantly called into question by Vidal: "It's illegal, not wrong," defends the criminal. "Global warming is wrong...you rob a bank, you have cash that nobody misses." Alicia also tries to force Angel's hand: "Know what your problem is? You're scared...like with us, you're afraid to move forward."

Angel is in a no-win situation, and the film seems to be headed for one of many possible bleak conclusions. This isn't a happy film, and it's almost painful to watch the truly admirable young man get beat down by so many awful influences. There are a few twists along the way, and some interesting story elements don't get developed--leaving many of the interesting supporting characters in the dust. The ending is contemplative, although a few aspects of the final scene didn't feel completely authentic.

Still, both Cebrián and González do a good job of making you root for Angel. Despite having the odds stacked against him, you sense an inner strength--and his heart is always in the right place. Grandinetti also shines as the complicated, mysterious Vidal, a man you can't quite figure out. The film leaves you touched and saddened, but also wanting to know more. The Good Boy is a distinctly European drama, a dark, moody reflection on family, loyalty and responsibility--and discovering who you are, even if it means falling down.

The DVD

Video:
The disc provided for this review was a screener, complete with an intrusive timecode stamp and logo on the image. The provided picture was a non-anamorphic 2.35:1 transfer, filled with grain. It's an immensely dark film, almost devoid of color. I realize this is just a screener, but the prognosis for an immensely better transfer on the final product doesn't look good.

Audio:
A 2.0 track did enough for the dialogue; no major problems, but nothing to cheer about. Any updates will be provided if a final disc is submitted.

Extras:
The disc was free of a menu and any special features; updates will be provided if they become available.

Final Thoughts:
A contemplative, downbeat tale about a young boxer's search for himself, The Good Boy is a frequently depressing watch. But like Angel, it has heart and makes you root for its protagonist, even when the odds--and his so-called friends--are stacked against him. This reflection on family, loyalty and responsibility shows that even if you don't always do the right thing, you can still hold your head high--even when defining "the right thing" isn't always clear. Rent It.

Buy from Amazon.com

C O N T E N T

V I D E O

A U D I O

E X T R A S

R E P L A Y

A D V I C E
Rent It

E - M A I L
this review to a friend
Popular Reviews

Sponsored Links
Sponsored Links
Release List Reviews Shop Newsletter Forum DVD Giveaways Blu-Ray Advertise
Copyright 2022 DVDTalk.com All Rights Reserved. Legal Info, Privacy Policy, Terms of Use