Sometimes a movie will come out of nowhere and surprise you with how good it is. That's the case with this one, which I'd never heard of. GOOD FOR NOTHING is a Western made in
by people I'd never heard of,
either. It opens with a recently orphaned young English woman, Isabella
Montgomery, traveling to her uncle's ranch in New
where she's going to live. America
Before she can get there, however, she's kidnapped by an outlaw who remains nameless throughout the film, an homage perhaps to Clint Eastwood's Man With No Name, since there's a lot in this movie that seems to be influenced by Sergio Leone's films.
Isabella's captor intends to rape her, but he's prevented from doing so by a plot twist I don't recall ever encountering in a Western before. Then she falls into the hands of some men who are even worse than the outlaw, and he becomes her rescuer rather than her kidnapper. Both of them are then fugitives, as they're pursued by a group of gunmen bent on revenge.
GOOD FOR NOTHING follows this classic chase scenario to its satisfying conclusion. Along the way there are plenty of well-staged action scenes, great scenery and photography, a fine musical score, and some touches of offbeat humor. Returning to the "out of nowhere" category, Inge Rademeyer, who plays Isabella, and Mike Wallis, who wrote and directed the film and produced it with Rademeyer, are partners in a digital animation company that worked on the special effects for the Lord of the Rings movies. GOOD FOR NOTHING is the feature film acting, writing, and directing debut for them. Cohen Holloway, who does a great job playing the outlaw, is a New Zealand TV actor, obscure to me (probably because I don't live in
But there's nothing in the background of these people to indicate that they should be able to say, "Hey, let's go make a Western", and do such a fine job of it. My hat is off to them, and I'll definitely be keeping an eye out to see what they do in the future. In the meantime, if you're a fan of gritty, hardboiled Westerns, GOOD FOR NOTHING (which is even a great title) gets a high recommendation from me.