Only the Good Survive will catch audiences off guard immediately. The animated colors that swirl across the screen look like it will be for a production company that worked on the film. Instead, everything seamlessly blends into its opening scene. Brea (Sidney Flannigan, Never Rarely Sometimes Always) is found alone by the police after a botched robbery. As sheriff Cole Mack (Frederick Weller, BlacKkKlansman) interrogates her about what happened, Brea tells a convoluted story. Mack says he is there to help, but who is really telling the truth?
Serving as transitions that progress the plot, the interactions between Mack and Brea are some of the best moments of the movie. Their exchanges are fast and witty as the two try to figure each other out. There are also a number of funny comments as the pair go back and forth. These scenes also give those watching a chance to soak in what just happened as the next section is set up.
How willing a person is able to accept the over the top nature of Only the Good Survive will be determine if they enjoy it or not. The story wears a lot of hats as it is part romantic comedy, part heist thriller, and part horror story. What can make things even harder to follow is how tonally different the movie can be. The darker moments are pretty disturbing, while the team put together for the break in is comprised of some outlandish characters. The more romantic moments are downright sweet.
Writer-director Dutch Southern does his best to keep all these balls in the air and when he succeeds, it makes for a very entertaining movie. There is a wild twist about halfway in that signals things are about to take an unexpectedly frightening turn. The cast also does a fantastic job with Darius Fraser (Poker Face) and Will Ropp (The Fallout) playing outlandish characters that are more than just goofy sidekicks. For his part, D’Pharoah Woon-A-Tai (Reservation Dogs) plays a grounded character who brings a more serious edge to the group.
When Only the Good Survive is not hitting on all cylinders, it is more frustrating than bad. Southern leans into meta statements from the characters with mixed results. Some of the animated bits can also break the immersion and things run a little long at the end. Still, the central story is an engaging one filled with color and attitude.
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