Beckett – 2021

Director Ferdinando Cito Filomarino
Screenplay Kevin A. Rice
Starring John David Washington, Boyd Holbrook, Vicky Krieps, Alicia Vikander

When Beckett (Washington) and his girlfriend April (Vikander) leave Athens by car, they have an accident. The ramifications of this accident have political ramifications that leaves Beckett on the run for the rest of the film. Somehow, this also puts him in the position to change the course of the country, if he can only turn the tables on his pursuers.

Most of Beckett moves along at the pace of a 70’s thriller. This is to say, it’s kind of plodding and slow. It’s not bad, per se, but as our hero runs, falls, limps, gets shot, falls again, gets shot again and then jumps several floors on a guess that his target might be there, it tends to grind away at credibility.

John David Washington has a lot of credibility to expend, fortunately. These improbable events are made believable, for the most part, due to his ability to play a Hitchockian everyman as though he’s lost the protection he’s been used to, even as an American in a land that does not lose any sleep due to his inability to speak their language. He isn’t overly charming. He doesn’t have an incredible sense of justice. He’s a man on the edge of giving up when he’s pushed into running for his life.

The choice by the filmmakers to not translate any of the Greek into English helps give the sense of abandonment one might feel in a foreign country. There are no real tethers for Beckett, as calls to the U.S. Embassy claim that he will not be getting help until he turns himself into the very authorities trying to terminate him.

The middle portion of the film is a bit of a slog. His running feels painful as he collects maladies from location to location. This continues at a ludicrous pace until the viewer just kind of gives up wondering what is possible versus what is inevitable.

Even so, I am enough of a fan of Washington that I enjoyed most of this film, even with it’s numerous challenges. The story is nothing new, and not interestingly told as much as acted. If you are not a fan of John David Washington, you can skip it.

(**1/2 out of *****)

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