Review – Good For Nothing

by / June 5, 2012

Directed by Mike Wallis

It is described as a ‘Pavlova western’, but Good For Nothing serves only to prove that Kiwis probably shouldn’t make spaghetti-type westerns. I went into it with no expectations whatsoever, and was still wildly disappointed. The film is really quite bizarre.

It has no core, no real story that we can care about. We are immediately introduced to Isabella, an Englishwoman who, for reasons she declines to make clear, has come to the Old West to live on her grandfather’s farm. Her chaperone tells her that “this is no place for a lady”, and boy, was she right. No sooner has Isabella disembarked from the train than she is kidnapped by a stern-looking Clint Eastwood-type. Clint (not his actual name) is determined to rape her—but he keeps having a little, um, problem. You know.

Most of the film consists of Clint dragging the helpless Isabella around the desert looking for a cure for his impotence. Meanwhile, the local sheriff has somehow mistaken them both for criminals, and rounds up a posse to hunt them down. Can Clint get his dick working before the law catches up with him?

I think this is what the film’s major problem is: it is set up for Clint to be the protagonist. The filmmakers want us to cheer him on, but this isn’t really possible, since every viewer is acutely aware that once he cures his impotence he plans to abuse Isabella in a multitude of horrible ways. Isabella, for her part, is a passive object, incapable of saving herself and utterly dependent on men for protection. It’s troubling from a feminist perspective, to say the least.

Good For Nothing isn’t a terrible movie, but the characters are poorly drawn and it is frequently boring—quite an achievement with a 90-minute runtime. Save your money on this one.

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