FOR GOOD
Alexander Bisley, Dominion Post, Friday February 27 2004

The killer of a teenage girl is up for parole and a furore about the role of the justice system follows. Sound familiar? For Good, Wellington playwright Stuart McKenzie's first low budget feature film, is a topical look at crime and punishment in New Zealand. Aspiring journalist Lisa Pearce (Michelle Langstone – weak) interviews Grant Wilson (Tim Balme) who, 10 years ago raped and murdered 13-year-old Tracey Hill in rural Northland. She then interviews Tracey's devastated parents Donald (Tim Gordon) and Fleur (Miranda Harcourt – McKenzie's wife). McKenzie based the film, shot on digital video and well scored by Shayne Carter, on his play Portraits, which in turn drew on his and Harcourt's thorough research interviewing criminals and the families of victims. Parents' grief when their children die has been terrifically analysed in Atom Egoyam's films like Exotica and The Sweet Hereafter and – more recently – Todd Field's In the Bedroom. For Good takes up this theme successfully, anchored by realistic performances by Harcourt and Gordon. Likewise, Balme – who by virtue of Braindead is one of New Zealand's top actors – is convincing as the menacing murderer.

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