- 14 Nov 18
Mysterious teenager disrupts a devout Christian community in haunting parable
Director Rebecca Daly has always been drawn to outsiders who form intense, unconventional connections, and her latest film Good Favour is no different. Continuing her streak of casting stellar young actors (her previous features starred Antonia Campbell-Hughes and Barry Keoghan), Daly’s film stars Vincent Romeo as Tom, a mysterious young man who stumbles out of the woods one day, injured and alone. A small, isolated community of fundamentalist Christians find him, and despite some initial wariness, offer the mysterious young man a home.
Tom is all sickly white skin, wide eyes and sharp cheekbones; a face that seems alternately childlike and malevolent, but always hypnotic. It is these qualities that captivate the community’s children, and his quietness allows them to project messianic qualities onto him. Are his apparently unhealing wounds the signs of Christ, and is his connection with 17-year-old Shoshanna (Clara Rugaard) sacred or sexual?
The power Tom amasses unnerves the community’s leaders, but they have other issues to worry about. The darker side of their beliefs and their strict refusal to engage with the outside world has endangered their most vulnerable followers, and cracks are appearing in the villagers’ unified front.
Daly’s direction is sensory, and she brilliantly creates a dread-filled atmosphere. Cinematographer Tibor Dingelstad shoots the village and surrounding woods in rich blue-green hues that transform from idyllic to eerie with the flicker of a shadow. Sound designer Steve Fanagan also does fantastic work. A sequence that sees Tom disrupting choir practice with loud woodchopping is a masterclass of atmosphere and psychology; a disquieting scene of ambiguous motivation that captures the enigma of this reflection on faith and power. A unique and wonderfully unnerving beast that is ripe for interpretation.