Beckett – Review

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

This latest Netflix original, political drama/thriller has John David Washington (Malcom & Marie, Tenet) running for his life after his peaceful holiday to Greece with his girlfriend April (Alicia Vikander), turns into his worst nightmare. Beckett (John David Washington) is on the run but from who he’s not sure, and for what purpose he’s even less so. A game of cat and mouse ensues as Beckett vigorously flees from his peculiar pursuers through Greece in the hopes he can reach the U.S. Embassy.

There’s not a great deal of intrigue that hits in the first fifteen or so minutes of Ferdinando Cito Filomarino’s thriller. We just follow a sweet American couple’s Greek getaway. Nothing out of the ordinary and nothing that stretches the talents of Washington or Vikander in any way. Even after the initial ‘event’ that is the turning point for how the story plays out, it feels generic and lacks the emotional punch it was setting up. But once the ball gets rolling, and it opts for this 90’s aesthetic chase thriller, Beckett becomes an intense ride that doesn’t allow its lead to stop and breathe for air.

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Washington channels the earlier movies of his father Denzel, and if it had come out decades ago he would have been the perfect casting choice to play the role. He’s the everyday hero that just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, and seems to be paying the ultimate price for it. Beckett gets thrown from one unfavourable scenario to the next, with his chance of survival becoming slimmer by each obstacle he faces.

But it would appear our hero is bulletproof. Not quite literally perhaps as that, but there are certainly moments where creative flair takes a stronghold over actual physics and realistic probabilities. If this really bothers you then I can imagine you’ll have a hard time with this movie.

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On the plus side is this tense and often tight narrative that takes us through the different landscapes of Greece, whilst tackling multiple genres and plot lines. Beckett truly only offers things that we’ve seen time and time again, but through its strong leading performance and gripping set-pieces, it elevates Filomarino’s familiar thriller to a fun, straight-to-streaming romp.

Whilst I believe we still haven’t seen the best of John David Washington yet, his fast growing filmography showcases his strong screen presence and will more than likely be following the footsteps of his father in the coming years.

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