Sam de Jong
“Yo it’s your girl Goldie I’m about to kill shit today.” Goldie (played by fashion model Slick Woods in her first movie role) is a lot like the film that bears her name: full of attitude, bursting with scrappy New York style, and stuck under the thumb of a merciless system that won’t let her shine like she knows she can. At least this movie believes in her, because no one else will. No one else except maybe pint-sized fans Sherrie and Supreme, both of whom worship their 18-year-old half-sister like Goldie is already the world famous hip-hop dance star she fantasizes about becoming. But when their mom gets arrested and Goldie tries to keep her little siblings away from the long arm of child welfare services, it isn’t long before the urgency of her real life begins to chip away at the possibility of her dreams.
Written and directed by Dutch filmmaker Sam de Jong (“Prince”), who shoots the upper tip of Manhattan with a vaguely foreign sense of dislocation, “Goldie” explodes with energy and hope. Some of that urban verve is manufactured in post-production; as Goldie and her sisters run around the city, de Jong outlines their bodies with bright, wiggly blasts of drawn-in color. A body-moving beat pumps away on the soundtrack (the ambient music here is courtesy of “The Rider” composer Nathan Halpern). Every time a new character is introduced, the movie captures them in a freeze frame while either Sherrie or Supreme shouts out their name in a singsongy voice like they’re making a new friend at school. De Jong isn’t out to make his own “Run Lola Run” (as preferable as that might have been), but he flakes “Goldie” with a pop style that speaks to its heroine’s natural buoyancy even when she’s adrift in some very choppy water.
Ultimately, however, most of the film’s vitality and ride-or-die sparkle comes from Goldie herself. It’s hard to know what came first — the name, or the close-shaved yellow hairdo and eyebrow combo that pops like champagne against her brown skin — but it doesn’t matter: Either way, Goldie is a star. She’s a local icon. She’s a brand in the making. And she feels like selling her persona is the only thing that might be able to afford her a better life, and make it so that her mom and sisters don’t have to share a single room with a low-rent drug dealer named Frank (Danny Hoch).
The fact that Woods has already made it (and with an incarcerated mother of her own) only adds to the perfection of her casting; even without the meta elements, which underline the extent to which America’s disenfranchised look to pop culture as a pipeline to salvation, her performance is beautifully expressive and open to the world.” David Ehrlich, Indiewire
“Sam de Jong’s 2015 debut Prince was an appealingly rough-hewn account of a Dutch-Moroccan youth experimenting with low-level crime while dreaming of a fairy-tale life beyond the Amsterdam housing projects. The director adopts another starry-eyed striver in Goldie, about an 18-year-old daughter of the Bronx who’s already a celebrated hip-hop dance sensation in her own mind, even if she’s just busting her moves at the local community center, with her kid sister working the smoke machine. That suspension between can-do spirit and come-down reality pumps blood into the irrepressible heart of this scrappy tale, along with the natural charisma of model Slick Woods, making a disarming feature debut in the title role.” David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter
“De Jong brings a jolt of brash energy to a social realist scenario that could easily have attracted Ken Loach or the Dardenne brothers. A charismatic, eye-catching debut performance from Instagirl fashion world star Slick Woods adds considerably to the film’s appeal.” Allan Hunter, Screen Daily
- 2/26 | 9:30PM