May 25, 2024

BECKETT (2021) – Spellbinding top-notch thriller set in Greece

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Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Denzel Washington’s son, John David Washington plays the title character Beckett, an American vacationing in Greece with his girlfriend. They meet with an unfortunate accident and Beckett finds himself running for his life as he gets caught up with some sort of local political conspiracy. After an initial slow start to introduce Beckett and his girlfriend, we are then trusted upon a relentless chase right until the final act.

I have to admit that when I first came to know about this film, I had my reservations especially given how so many of the new releases had been disappointing. The film’s poster looked boring, and apart from John David (who was last seen in Tenet), there is no other familiar names. Fortunately I was pleasantly mistaken. Beckett turns out to be one of my personal favourite movie for this year. While the premise of someone running from his antagonists as the main plot may sound thin and familiar (think The Fugitive and more recently the TV series Most Dangerous Game), Beckett manages to look and feel fresh and different. I like that the movie is set in Greece which offers an unfamiliar and beautiful landscape. The absence of subtitles during the occasions when people are speaking in Greek was probably also deliberate so that we feel the lost and frustrations of Beckett as well. I also liked that our main characters are flawed and vulnerable. Beckett’s girlfriend for example doesn’t come across as someone remarkably attractive or loveable but yet Beckett is shown to be hopelessly blinded and in love with her. The accident that they found themselves in was something that could have been totally avoided and one could say that Beckett was at fault. No many movies would show their main character in such bad light and I think the film makers took a right move here in depicting the human side of the character well.

Despite a rather stereotypical role, John David Washington manages to make his Beckett someone we sympathise with and believable. He is shown struggling with his escapes while his antagonists have the upper hand in numbers as well as strength and weapons. I felt he did a much better job here than he did in the bigger and noisier Tenet. Kudos also goes to the fine direction by Ferdinando Cito Filomarino who I have to admit is an unfamiliar name to me. Apparently he has worked as Assistant Director and Writer more than as Director. Neverthless I do appreciate the fresh look and style of this film which makes the whole experience more involving. The running and close calls, were also well paced with some quieter moments in between to help us disgust what had happened before we get thrown in to the next predicament.

Beckett is a movie that doesn’t pretend to be more important than what it sets out to be, just a pure adrenaline inducing action thriller. For that it scores top marks from me.

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