Zach Ball, Rose Collins, Benjamin Harter-Murphy, Catherine Trail, Chip White
WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY
In Nathaniel Hawthorne's 1835 short story "Young Goodman Brown," symbolism meets history in a classic dark romantic tale of a young man whose romanticized view of his wife and the world around him is shaken to the core when evil rears its ugly head. Writer/director Andrew Huggins has adapted this classic tale with a modernized spin in his short film Goodman, a nine-minute film featuring Benjamin Harter-Murphy as Goodman, a man of faith who for one night is leaving his wife, appropriately named Faith (Rose Collins), to embark on a meeting with a mysterious man (Zach Ball) with an evil aura and a tempting invite.
Half the fun, and I say fun somewhat lightly here, in watching Goodman is in watching how the story unfolds and in what ways Huggins chooses to be faithful to Hawthorne's original material. Suffice it to say that Huggins largely maintains Hawthorne's structure while changing, perhaps, a bit of the historical context and simplifying the character list to the absolute essentials. While those, including myself, familiar with the source material may lament the losses it still remains impressive how Huggins has tied everything together in a package that is visually appealing and dramatically satisfying with a leading performance by Harter-Murphy that is compelling and elicits a rather classic sense of dread as everything unfolds.
Alexander Arntzen's original music companions the film nicely, while Derek Donovan's lensing gives the film its modern yet strikingly gothic sensibility. At times a touch stilted, a rather epic problem for Hawthorne cinematic adaptations, Goodman should still please fans of Hawthorne along with those who appreciate films bringing to life the dark romantic era that also included many of Poe's works along with other writers.
Knowledge of the short story is not necessary to appreciate Goodman. In fact, it may even be a bit of a hindrance. A rather unique beast that could easily find a place amongst microcinema fests, Goodman has a story that remains as relevant today as it was when originally put to paper by Hawthorne nearly 200 years ago.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic