Review: Beckett

I’ve seen John David Washington in a few things over the years and but I’ve always been left a little disappointed with the films he’s made. While he’s undoubtedly the best thing in Tenet or BlacKkKlansman, neither of those films really clicked with me but when I first saw the trailer for Beckett I was intrigued.

Despite being a midbudget Netflix release, could Beckett the John David Washington film I’ve been waiting for? The short answer to that question unfortunately though is no. Beckett is a dull, generic and often predictable attempt at a Hitchcock style thriller that is neither as smart or as intriguing as it seems to think it is.

While vacationing in Greece with his girlfriend, a tragic accident sets our titular character on a collision course with local law enforcement as he races towards the salvation of the United States embassy.

At times there’s a glimmer of hope in Beckett with shades of classic films The Fugitive but we’ve seen this tale of an American in trouble abroad too many times to count these days and the film does nothing but retread familiar ground in very uninteresting ways. I first checked my watch 25mins into the film as I was already bored. I checked it again 45mins into the film and nothing had changed.

Beckett tries to build a sense of intrigue by keeping the audience as in the dark about what’s going on by refusing to subtitle any of the Greek dialogue but in my opinion it didn’t have the desired impact. I didn’t feel the same dread as Beckett himself was supposed to feel and I didn’t actually care why he was being hunted down by the authorities and by the time I started to get the answers the film thought I was looking for, I really no longer cared and I was ready for the film to end at around the half way mark.

The film itself is light on action, light on answers and light on suspense but perhaps my biggest gripe with the film is the fact that we’re never really given much time to learn anything about Beckett or the kind of man he is. We’re not really given any reason to care about the man or his plight and no matter how much things seem to spiral out of control for him, without any context of who the man is I really can’t see why we should care.

I had high hopes for this one. The trailer promised a Hitchcock style suspense thriller that the film failed to deliver on. Perhaps my expectations were too high but the more likely scenario is Netflix had a cracking marketing team working their hardest to drum up interest for a less than average film and if it wasn’t for the inclusion of John David Washington I don’t think I’d have even reached the end.

by Edward Laing