If you were hoping for a film in the vein of ‘The Fugitive’ with tension and excitement, then Beckett is not the film you are looking for
Beckett is directed by Ferdinando Cito Filomarino and sees John David Washington on the run from corrupt cops in picturesque Athens and across Greece. But how can he avoid the manhunt and blend in when he seems to be the only black man in the country!?
John David Washington is Beckett, an American tourist on holiday in Greece with his girlfriend April played by Alicia Vikander. They are involved in a fatal car crash where April doesn’t survive. Beckett suddenly becomes the victim of a nationwide manhunt for reasons he doesn’t understand and goes on the run.
Beckett is the wrong guy in the wrong place at the wrong time. An everyman who finds himself hunted across the country. He finds himself caught in a wide-reaching conspiracy that neither he nor us the audience understand or care about. I found myself more than once checking to see how long was left as he overcame increasingly uninteresting scenarios to get to the safety of the American embassy and when he got there, I questioned why we still had so long left in the film.
Despite John David Washington and Alicia V being good actors in their own right, there was little chemistry between the two. They were unconvincing as lovers and it was hard to gauge how long they had actually been together. Thankfully, they do not share too many scenes together. For the rest of the film, John David Washington’s character appears to be the only one making any effort to act or portray emotion which makes the performance look rather uneven when paired with the other characters.
While the sets are not necessarily flashy or very elaborate, there is still a certain beauty in the natural environments on display. The music is pretty much non-existent throughout the film, bar a few cliché moments. The sound design is also basic and bare bones, with little done to enhance the feel of the action or the environments.
Beckett has the look and feel of an indie film from a first-time film maker. Unfortunately, it’s not a particularly good indie film with a storyline regarding conspiracy, politically motivated kidnapping and corrupt police and government officials. It feels pointless and uninteresting. It’s unclear why an actor of John David Washington’s calibre would be involved in this project, possibly a favour for a friend or maybe he held an existing admiration of the directors previous work.
Netflix have spent the last few years increasing budgets to get their movies to at least give the big feel of the cinematic releases from the major studios, so this feels like a massive step backwards. It’s quite possible they spent their whole budget on Mr Washington’s salary, hoping his name would carry enough weight. While the quality of a film should not be judged by budget, a strong story and great performances are normally required in lieu of such spending to provide something interesting and worth your time. Beckett is not such a film
The Official trailer is available here