Bad Lucky Goat

| December 12, 2017

Some days seem longer than others, and this is certainly the case for Cornelius & his sister Rita, who find themselves entangled with a certain bad, lucky goat.

Bad Lucky Goat is entrancingly simple. There are no fancy camera angles or dramatic changes in lighting or contrast. The story unfolds naturally, but demands attention. It reminds viewers that the everyday for one can be an adventure for another, and that the cliche that ‘truth is stranger than fiction’ continues to ring true.

The film’s ambient noise engulfs the viewer in a breezy summer day: wind drifts silently along, waves smash and suckle against rocky cliffs, and the occasional motorist fills the air with exhaust as it buzzes along an unmarked road. Strains of music from backyard radios and daydreaming teenage musicians break through the lazy air, and a woman selling (and nibbling on) homemade snacks on the beach front awakens restful citizens from the slumber that sometimes accompanies boredom.

Cornelius, or ‘Corn,’ dreams of becoming a famous musician. He picks up odd jobs and does what he can to scrape up the money in order to buy tapes, which he uses to record music and sell it to the tourists who stay at his parents’ bed & breakfast in Port Paradise, Colombia. One day, on his way to a gig, he and his sister find themselves thrown into a predicament involving a certain goat, and things quickly spiral out of control.

While it would never be categorized as a musical, Bad Lucky Goat boasts some fantastic musical selections. There is one scene where four men – keeping cool by submerging in a nearby lake — make some of the most simple and beautiful music using nothing but a few jars and shells, a whittled wind instrument of some sort, and the water around them.

Opposites seems to be a recurring theme throughout Bad Lucky Goat. Calm almost always means there is danger is around the bend. A tree at the top of a mountain with a beautiful view of the coast is filled with bones. The camera gazes across a clear, blue sky, followed by a shot of the ocean floor. Corn and Rita show love and disdain for each other, and nearly at the same time, as caring siblings tend to do. Realism battles against superstition, and a cyclical, karmic aura encaptures the pleasant-to-follow storyline.

Perhaps this theme is made more complex by the numerous ways in which it can be interpreted by people from different backgrounds. For instance, while it may seem hilarious to a city-dweller that the pair finds themselves balancing a goat on a motorbike, a farmer in a rural area who owns a motorbike might not see humor in such a situation.

Sometimes, the viewer gets to see the world from Corn’s superstitious, starry-eyed point of view. Unfortunately, the scenes where Corn’s imagination comes to life through animation leave something to be desired. There aren’t enough of them to make such instances worthwhile, but there are so few that they almost feel like fillers, or like the filmmaker couldn’t afford to add any more. The movie doesn’t suffer as a result, but the spotty occurrences are disappointing — maybe even distracting. The acting leaves something to be desired, but the organic development of the story makes up for the few poorly-delivered lines. Rita and Corn — despite their differences — are quick thinkers, and their cleverness keep them out of trouble just long enough to put them in the middle of another dilemma. It’s hard to tell if their resourcefulness is a personality trait or a defense mechanism, but it’s probably the result of both.

While a few of the resolutions seemed to come about too quickly, the juxtaposition of good and bad luck are delightfully crafted. The ebb and flow of the siblings’ luck and the somewhat ambiguous ending make for a worthwhile payoff.

About the Author:

Caress is a Chicagoan who has a deep fascination with film. Her love for movies began as an undergraduate at Roosevelt University, where her teacher suggested she write a movie review. Caress' favorite genres include indie dramas, foreign films, experimental films, and psychological thrillers. When she's not watching movies, Caress enjoys writing, photography, travel, fashion and music.
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