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the G

Director – Karl R. Hearne – 2023 – Canada – Cert. 15 – 106m


A 72-year-old conned out of her home and assets calls up someone from her past to exact revenge – gripping thriller is out in UK and Ireland cinemas on Friday, June 21st

After a brief opening in which two men complete the task of burying a third alive, this switches to a hospital appointment of Mrs. Hunter (Dale Dickey from Hell or High Water, David MacKenzie, 2016; Winter’s Bone, Debra Granik, 2010), 72 years old and gruffly describing herself as “socialite, retired”. She is accompanied by her grown-up granddaughter (Romane Denis), photogenic legs in tight shorts, and giving the middle finger to men who come on to her. The elder drives the younger home, deliberately missing the turn-off so they can spend more time together talking in the car.

Then Hunter returns to her condo to care for her bedridden partner Chip (Greg Ellwand from February, Oz Perkins, 2015), hit a bottle of vodka and perch precariously on a stepladder on her balcony to fix a dicky light. She is watched by a man from a car parked in the street. Next morning, there’s a knock at the door, and men including “your legal guardian Rivera” (Bruce Ramsay) and his assistant (Jonathan Koensgen) come into the apartment bearing a court order to move the couple to a facility. It’s the first she’s heard about it, but they don’t give her time to get some things together before they take her and Chip away.

The facility has a rule that residents aren’t allowed to leave their rooms for the first month.

Hearing a tale at her women’s support group from Claire (Kathleen Fee) – a briefly-seen character so hilarious and compelling that you hope writer-director Hearne has written a screenplay around her – about a man following her into a lavatory, the granddaughter comments, “the G would have had his eyes out”.

As she indicates, her grandma is resourceful, for soon she has got past her locked facility room door and, after to borrow a phone by knocking on other doors, gets one from fellow resident Joseph (Roc Lafortune) who by being compliant has secured the opportunity to do gardening work on the premises to get out into the fresh air. She phones: “I need to get a message to Jack.” Even as her visiting granddaughter discovers her grandmother’s empty flat, Rivera and assistant are in Mrs. Hunter’s room asking where the money is, hitting the disabled Chip by way of persuasion.

Introducing herself as Emma to the facility’s landscape gardener Matt (Joey Scarpellino), the granddaughter gains access to the G’s room and vows to do whatever it takes to get her out. After Chip’s funeral, as the G walks around the local area processing her grief, she is followed by a Texan. “Jack’s dead,” he explains when she stops and demands to know who he is, “I’m Jack’s son.” The stage is now set for Jack’s son (Richard Chevolleau) to sort out the G’s problem, even as Emma becomes involved with Matt and attempts off her own bat to get care home head Rivera to pay back the money he’s pocketed from selling the G’s condo.

Many further satisfying plot twists and turns follow as the tale works its way to its conclusion. It’s hard to fault the piece on the level of a thriller – one of the best you’ll see this year – yet in a way that is by no means its greatest asset. It’s a real pleasure to see a film in which the main character is not just a woman, but a 72-year-old woman, who gives as good as she gets. Better yet, actress Dale Dickey is fantastic in the role, eliciting a considerable amount of sympathy without ever becoming soft-edged to achieve it. Denis is suitably insecure as Emma, the woman who models herself on the G’s refusal to take any nonsense from anyone. Ramsay makes a suitably smarmy, legally-savvy villain. And one could keep going right down the cast list.

Like Lucky Grandma (Sasie Sealy, 2019), with which it would make the second half of a great double bill, this is centred on an unrepentant, ageing, female curmudgeon and represents a welcome, rough around the edges view of old people presented as just as capable as anyone else, if not more so. Both films essentially operate in the gangster genre (the G is about ruthless men scamming old people out of their money, Lucky Grandma is about finding a bag of money that belongs to the mob), where their highly capable, old-aged protagonists give them a definite edge.

As Godard once said, all you need to make a movie is a girl and a gun; the G proves that that can still work a treat when the girl is 72, as long as she has the right attitude. And Dale Dickey has it in spades here.

the G is out in cinemas in the UK and Ireland on Friday, June 21st.


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