Sometimes, even the most creative people need to be inspired by someone else in order to make magnificent art.
Such was the case with writer-director Abner Pastoll who realized he was longing to partner on a new project, just as his first film, a deliciously dark serial killer tale, was set for release in 2015.
“It was a month before the world premiere of ‘Road Games,’ and I was, I really wanted to find a writer to collaborate with because I had a bunch of ideas,” Pastoll told BVB: Blood Violence and Babes in early May by phone from his home in the United Kingdom.
A Good Woman Is Hard to Find
4 out of 5 stars
Run time: 97 minutes
“So, my producer reached out to an agent here in the UK and asked if he had some writing samples from some of his clients. He sent over five scripts, five samples, from five writers, and one of those scripts was called ‘A Good Woman Is Hard to Find,’ by Ronan Blaney, and it blew me away. I thought not only is this a writer I want to collaborate with, but I actually want to make this script! But, because it was a writing sample, I didn’t even know what was happening with it. Was it available? What was it? And it turned out that he had only finished writing that draft like a few days before, so other than his agent, I was the first person to even read it. So, I stumbled across the project completely by chance, and I think it’s because I just really connected with the character and it just felt to me like something I really wanted to do.”
Having just released on DVD from Film Movement, as well as most streaming platforms, BVB can confirm that “A Good Woman is Hard to Find” is not just an exceptional neo-noir, but it’s bloody as hell and features a spectacular lead performance by Sarah Bolger.
Aptly enough, Bolger plays Sarah, a young widow struggling to raise two children after her husband, a low-level drug dealer, is mysteriously killed.
Pastoll dives right in, allowing viewers to form an immediate connection to Sarah as they watch her try to complete simple, mundane tasks—grocery shopping on a budget, pleading with the local police to solve her husband’s murder and finally suffering the icy judgment of her mother who looks down on the wreck of a life that her daughter has sowed.
By the end of that grueling opening sequence, barely 15 minutes into the movie, Pastoll allows his camera to linger on Sarah, finally alone in her bedroom. She reaches into a drawer, pulls out a vibrator and discovers the batteries are dead. Pastoll follows her as she Army crawls into her children’s room, seeking a toy to steal the AA’s inside. It’s a fantastic sequence, something that’s rarely put to film, but any single mother watching will immediately identify.
“I think that is basically one of the main things that really drew me to it, how there are all these relatable moments,” Pastoll said, “but then it’s also how, the film is very much grounded in reality, but then it goes into this heightened reality toward the end. It’s about the collision of these two different worlds. But yeah, I love all those moments. They’re just really great.”
It's critical that the audience connect to Sarah early on because the film quickly escalates, fueled by a host of dangerous men who immediately dismiss Sarah, at their own peril. When the blood starts flowing, however, it is as shocking as it is cathartic.
The third act, in particular, is stunningly violent. None of the gratuitous carnage would work, however, without Bolger’s ability to fluidly transition from wide-eyed innocence to don’t-fuck-with-me resolve.
Pastoll said that’s why he never considered anyone else for the role.
“Well, the funny thing is, when I read the script, she’s the only person I could see in my head for the role. I had been following her work over the years because she’s been acting since she was a kid,” he said. “And so, I just sent her the script and within 24 hours of sending her the script, we were on a Skype video call. She was over in L.A. shooting a TV series at the time. It was supposed to be a 20-minute call just to discuss the character and the project and everything, but we ended up talking for two hours. And I knew when talking to her, my job’s pretty much done now because I don’t have to do anything anymore. She just totally got what I wanted from the character, what the character was about, and she just brought all these other ideas and this amazing energy to it, so yeah, in many ways, it was a no-brainer. The role is almost like it was written for her.”
If you’re a fan of dark, edgy, female-centric crime thrillers, BVB can’t recommend this one enough. In fact, we would suggest pairing “A Good Woman is Hard to Find” with Matthew Pope’s “Blood On Her Name” and Usher Morgan’s “Pickings,” to create an unholy cinematic trilogy that’s perfect for a long night of quarantine viewing.
John W. Allman has spent more than 25 years as a professional journalist and writer, but he’s loved movies his entire life. Good movies, awful movies, movies that are so gloriously bad you can’t help but champion them. Since 2009, he has cultivated a review column and now a website dedicated to the genre films that often get overlooked and interviews with cult cinema favorites like George A. Romero, Bruce Campbell and Dee Wallace. Contact him at Blood Violence and Babes.com, on Facebook @BloodViolenceBabes or on Twitter @BVB_reviews.
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