×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

OK, Good

A riveting portrait of an actor on the verge of a nervous breakdown -- or, quite possibly, something worse.

With:
With: Hugo Armstrong.

Through the slow, steady accumulation of seemingly random but increasingly portentous details, helmer Daniel Martinico fashions a riveting portrait of an actor on the verge of a nervous breakdown — or, quite possibly, something worse — in “OK, Good,” a teasingly elliptical bare-bones drama that could spark interest at fests and on VOD. Often reminiscent of austere works by Robert Bresson and Chantal Akerman, the pic has minimal commercial potential. Even so, it might help elevate the profile of co-scripter and co-producer Hugo Armstrong if the right people view his subtly unsettling lead performance.

Armstrong plays Paul Kaplan, a balding, bland-looking, thirtysomething L.A. actor who divides his time between demoralizing (and often humiliating) auditions for TV commercials — at which, evidently, he’s rarely if ever hired — and attending intense sessions of a physical-movement workshop.

While alone at home or in his car, he constantly listens to motivational CDs that encourage forceful expression and relentless drive. But whenever he attempts to speak without a script — even to a voice-mail prompt — he comes off as unassuming, if not downright timid, and tongue-tied.

From the start, Martinico and Armstrong indicate Kaplan is fully alive and comfortable in his skin only when he is pretending to be someone else. As he delivers the cheery banalities of a pottery-soil pitchman at a commercial audition, the underemployed actor appears far more animated, and much happier, than he ever does during the drudgery of his daily life. When an off-camera director says, “Make your eyes sparkle,” he readily complies.

But there’s never much doubt that Kaplan is struggling to tamp down a mounting inner rage as he continually deals with rejections and frustrations. In one scene, the camera remains outside while he enters a printing shop to complain about the processing of his headshots. As the scene progresses, some viewers may actually half-expect to hear gunshots.

There are sporadic snatches of dialogue spoken by fleetingly glimpsed supporting players (many of them culled from the ranks of the L.A. theater scene) and much screaming and shouting by fellow students at the physical-movement workshop. For all practical purposes, however, “OK, Good” is a one-man show — until the final scene, at least — and Armstrong rises to the challenge with a rigorously controlled performance that suggests the human equivalent of a ticking time bomb.

Pic proceeds at a purposefully measured pace, stealthily building suspense without resorting to obvious effects. Production values indicate pinched pennies were spent wisely.

Popular on Variety

OK, Good

Production: A Peacetronauts Filmproduktion production. Produced by Hugo Armstrong, Daniel Martinico. Directed, edited by Daniel Martinico. Screenplay, Hugo Armstrong, Martinico.

Crew: Camera (color, DV), Martinico; sound, Anarchy Post. Reviewed on DVD, Houston, Jan. 24, 2012. (In Slamdance Film Festival.) Running time: 79 MIN.

With: With: Hugo Armstrong.

More Film

  • China's Phoenix Entertainment Buys Italian Comedy-Drama

    China's Phoenix Entertainment Buys Italian Body-Positivity Comedy 'Sweeties'

    Chinese distributor Phoenix Entertainment Group has bought all China rights to the Italian comedic drama “The Sweeties” from Germany-based Media Luna New Films. The movie is the second feature from director Francesco Ghiaccio and stars Valeria Solarino, Vinicio Marchioni and four young newcomers in their acting debut. It deals with issues of bullying and body-shaming [...]

  • The Upside TIFF

    'The Upside' Poised for China Theatrical Release

    “The Upside,” a 2017 American remake of the 2011 hit French drama “The Intouchables,” will get a China release on Nov. 22. The film was directed by Neil Burger and stars Nicole Kidman, Kevin Hart and Bryan Cranston. It tells the story of an unlikely friendship that forms between a rich quadriplegic and the struggling [...]

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    Virginia Leith, Female Lead in Stanley Kubrick's First Film, Dies at 94

    Actress and model Virginia Leith, who starred in Stanley Kubrick’s first film “Fear and Desire,” which he later disavowed, has died. She was 94. According to family spokesperson Jane Chalmers, Leith died after a brief illness at her home in Palm Springs, Calif. on Nov. 4. Born on Oct. 15, 1925, Leith met Kubrick in [...]

  • Sarah Bolger's 'A Good Woman Is

    Film News Roundup: Sarah Bolger's 'A Good Woman Is Hard to Find' Bought by Film Movement

    In today’s film news roundup, “A Good Woman Is Hard to Find” and “After Parkland” find homes, Jack Johnson is honored, AGC closes deals on Neill Blomkamp’s latest and Paramount is in talks for a “Power to the People” project. ACQUISITIONS Film Movement has bought North American rights to the thriller “A Good Woman Is [...]

  • Sir Lionel Frost (left) voiced by

    Chris Butler Looks At The Magic Behind Animating 'Missing Link'

    Laika’s latest feature “Missing Link” raises the bar once again for the world of stop-motion, pushing boundaries in scope and visuals. The story of an unlikely friendship between Mr. Frost and his 8-foot yeti buddy Link is one of hope. “Missing Link” producer Arianne Sutner says the message of the film was to “leave people [...]

  • Jonah Hauer-King Prince Eric

    'Little Mermaid' Live-Action Movie Finds Its Prince Eric

    Jonah Hauer-King will soon be a part of the “Little Mermaid” world. The newcomer has been tapped to play Prince Eric in Disney’s live-action remake of the animated classic. At one point, Harry Styles was is in early talks for the role, but ended up passing. Hauer-King has had two screen tests, with the most [...]

  • Peter Caranicas

    Variety's Peter Caranicas to Receive 1st HPA Legacy Award

    Peter Caranicas Variety managing editor, features, will be honored with the first HPA Legacy Award. Caranicas joined Variety as features managing editor in 2008, and currently serves as both deputy editor and managing editor, features. He has developed the editorial franchises Dealmakers Impact Report, Hollywood’s New Leaders, Legal Impact Report and Business Managers Elite. Caranicas also [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content