The G – Review

The G Dale DickeyThis review contains spoilers.

They say that revenge is a dish best served cold. But nobody ever said anything about it being grandma doing the serving. In an unusual spin on the classic revenge drama, writer / director Karl R. Hearne takes a more mature view of getting mad and getting even.

The G centres around the premise that the elderly are being scammed out of their homes and life savings. Doctors are being bribed to write them off as unfit to live by themselves, whereby they end up in a stark looking care facility whilst gangsters proceed to rob them of every penny they have in order to “pay for their care”. It’s all a bit grim and tugs at the heartstrings when you see the abuses taking place.

Ann Hunter (Dale Dickey) suddenly finds herself and her ailing husband thrown into such a facility. They are being held like prisoners – unable to leave their new “apartment” for a month. Ann catches glimpses of other residents, trembling and cowed, and witnesses her own husband being viciously assaulted because he won’t concede that they have any money to give their new “guardians”.

This all happens within the first half hour or so, drawing you into what feels like a heartbreaking situation. Can this be legal? Why has no one noticed they are locked up? Will no one fight for all these poor elderly people?

Unfortunately, that’s about as interesting as The G gets. Disappointingly, the plot and the dialogue really unravel and don’t seem to get back on track quite ever.

For example, there is a sub-plot which sees Ann’s granddaughter, Emma (Romane Denise) attempt to get justice for her grandmother by pursuing these so-called guardians herself. None of this is credible because Emma has none of the menace or street smarts that her grandmother does. There is also another side story which sees her go on a rather weird date with a man who decides to doggy paddle naked in order to seduce her. It seems an odd attempt at comedy amid a very dark premise.

The acting, overall, is poor. Romane Denis sounds whiny a lot of the time or like she’s unsure as to how to deliver her next line. The actor playing Ann’s step-son-in-law really pulls you out of the drama with his odd intonation and outbursts. Bruce Ramsay, playing the lead “heavy”, Rivera, feels more like a background henchman than a Gus Fring or an Omar Navarro.

Some rather gaping plot holes are not easily explained away. Having secured zero dollars from Ann and her (now dead husband), they suddenly allow her out of her apartment, so she can freely roam the corridors and work out the routines of those she is furious with. They do this, despite alluding to the fact that they know she is from a family of Texas hellraisers, whom she is still connected to.

Some of the dialogue, with a particular reference to the behavior of the “bad guys”, is a little too on the nose. “Politicians, lawyers, gangsters … some would say they’re on in the same,” chortles one lawyer, who is trying to sleep with Emma in order to free her grandmother. Men, huh?

However, Dale Dickey really does carry this film with her performance. Solid as ever, she has the right amount of ruthlessness and grief to bring her character to life. She has an interesting back story and she is well fleshed out. This isn’t a woman picking up a gun for the first time in her life, and it shows. “My mother used to say if you let your anger out, you live longer. She lived to be a hundred and two,” she quips.

The G Dale DickeyThe G is also very well shot. Everything indoors seems shadowy and claustrophobic; outside is stark and snow bright. The film has been described as a “winter noir” and it does all it can to capture that. It also does a good job of establishing the genuine threat to all of the elderly people in the facility. One resident lies bruised and teary eyed on a gurney, reaching out to Ann for help. Another man walks with his t-shirt pulled over his face, his scrawny legs trembling in nothing but an adult nappy. So it does find ways to draw you in and make you care.

But it’s probably not enough. The run time could do with a 20 minute chop and, unless you’re a really big fan of Dale Dickey, there isn’t much else here to keep you engaged, particularly as it all begins to unravel in the third act. There’s a good premise here, but the execution just doesn’t live up to it.

The G is now screening at the Glasgow Film Festival. Get your tickets here.

Mary Munoz
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