Sommerleigh Pollonais, Senior Writer
Plot: Following a tragic car accident in Greece, Beckett, an American tourist, finds himself at the centre of a dangerous political conspiracy and on the run for his life.
Review: John David Washington has been on a roll of late, with his turn in Tenet most recently showing what he’s capable of as an actor. But no matter how great a performer you are, there’s only so much you can do to carry a movie that isn’t well executed. Which brings me to the slosh-fest that is Beckett.
This one is heavily inspired by the political thrillers of the 60s or 70s. For instance, the iconic and thrilling 1976’s Marathon Man kept popping into my noggin’ while watching this movie. And by the way, if you haven’t seen Marathon Man, feel free to turn off Beckett and go watch that masterpiece of filmmaking instead.
Anyways, the setup here is a basic thriller staple. A couple on vacation are having a gay old time until things inevitably go horribly wrong. When girlfriend Alice, played by a woefully underused Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina, Tomb Raider), dies in an accident, Beckett is left as the sole survivor. But what should’ve been a tragic but ordinary end to his time in Greece turns deadly, as Beckett is chased by a cop and his cronies who want him dead for reasons he needs to figure out if he’s to survive.
The problem is not the acting. Washington nails it as the ordinary man caught in an extraordinary situation. He’s not an action hero, doesn’t have a history in the military, or is secretly some bad-ass spy. He’s just a man scared out of his wits who wants to get home safe but who is unwittingly caught up in a conspiracy not of his own making. As I said before Vikander is here and gone, but their short time on screen together worked well. Everyone else barely makes an impact.
It’s also not the score, which evokes those old school thrillers I spoke about before (this movie also made me think of Kurt Russell’s Breakdown, a more recent thriller that is also way better than this one). And it wasn’t the story, which on paper is a solid synopsis for this kind of movie. No, I’m laying blame for the complete lack of energy and tension needed to make this work at the feet of director Fernando Cito Filomarino, who also wrote the story, and the editorial department.
Scenes ran way too long, sucking the tension and my interest out of the room. And now that I think about it, maybe the screenplay needed some polishing too as I sat through what seemed like multiple versions of the same thing over and over again. Beckett runs, someone chases him, Beckett gets away with/without help, Beckett is spotted by baddies, Beckett runs again. This nonsense went on for way too long without any new plot points or beats being added, which had me reaching for my remote to hit the fast forward button. If someone is fast forwarding through a movie they never saw before because they just want the redundant moments to be over, you know you have a problem.
This one was a huge disappointment for me folks. I honestly thought I was getting a slick, tightly-shot action thriller, full to the brim with interesting characters and fun twists. Instead I got a weak imitation of much better movies I’ve already seen. And at nearly two hours, that’s precious viewing time I’ll never get back. I already named two movies far superior to this one. Here’s a third—The Fugitive. Now got watch any of those instead of Beckett and you can thank me later.
Sommer’s Score: 4.5 out of 10
And you can check out John David Washington in two much better films below:
Sommerleigh of the House Pollonais. First of Her Name. Sushi Lover, Queen of Horror Movies, Comic Books and Binge Watching Netflix. Mother of two beautiful black cats named Vader and Kylo. I think eating Popcorn at the movies should be mandatory, PS4 makes the best games ever, and I’ll be talking about movies until the zombie apocalypse comes.
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