Image from French Film Festival Perth
Reviewed by Erika Ng
Dramatic and thought-provoking, Goliath (2022), written by Frédéric Tellier and Simon Moutaïrou, is a film about rebellion and desperation that will leave you second-guessing everything you know about environmental politics.
While helmed by a well-decorated cast, the film chooses to prioritise the plot over its characters, pushing a pro-environmentalism agenda, arguing against pollution, and the widespread use of genetically modified organisms, while also promoting the ideology that ‘big corporations’ possess more influence than is widely understood. The characters simply act as placeholders to illustrate to the viewer that these issues can, and often do, impact everyone. However, despite this good intention, and the fact that each of the film’s leading roles were performed by award-winning actors, it is regrettable that the characters do not leave any strong or lasting impression.
It should be noted that the story itself, whilst being quite informative, is also very compelling. The structure was almost like a persuasive essay, guiding viewers through each argument and example.
On the technical side of things, the film also has an over-reliance on the use of a shaky camera, ranging from either unnecessary to nauseating at times. This is however consistent with the film’s realistic and non-stylised approach, making it feel very much like a traditional ‘French film’. The colour palette consisted of mainly blues and greens, creating an overall depressing tone that is appropriate for a film tackling such weighty themes.
Overall, the film conveyed a very important message and is executed well. I would have liked to see the characters undergo more change and growth throughout the film, as this would have been more reflective of one’s actual experience, whilst grappling with such moral debates. Goliath (2022) is a good entry point for those who may be unfamiliar with foreign films, as the majority of important plot points are conveyed visually rather than in dialogue.
The Film’s Synopsis:
“A politically-charged drama intertwining the lives of three strangers. After experiencing a terrible and inconceivable act, France a sports teacher by day and factory worker by night, Patrick a Parisian lawyer specialising in environmental law and Mathias a lobbyist and a man in a hurry, have their lives and destinies turned upside down because of one farmer’s desperate act.
Written by Frédéric Tellier and Simon Moutaïrou, Goliath is a thriller that tackles environmental issues relating to Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), the pesticide industry, politics, and the power of lobby groups. A stellar cast delivers believable performances which will engage, enlighten and open your eyes to many questionable current agricultural practices. Tellier’s hard-hitting and enigmatic style engrosses the audience in dramatic storytelling that can be felt in every scene.
A David and Goliath fight between farmers and multinational pesticide companies with a strong underlying environmental message. A touching, questioning examination of the issues.”