By Laurie Coker
Movies that might not have otherwise seen the light of day in past years are popping up on streaming channels to feed the desires of cautious cinephiles who haven’t returned to theaters. ‘Beckett’ is such a film, and an embassy with a portrait of Obama ages the film almost five years. Unfortunately, ‘Beckett’ should have stayed in the can. John David Washington stars in this less than a thrilling thriller that begins well but fails to deliver anything fresh or exciting.
Washington plays Beckett, an unassuming tourist traveling in Greece with his beautiful girlfriend, April (Alicia Vikander), when he falls asleep at the wheel, sending the couple careening off an embankment and into a house. Beckett, injured and bloody, survives, but April dies. At first, the police appear helpful, but soon Beckett realizes he’s their target for no apparent reason. The only clue as to why he’s chased lies in the vague memory of a redheaded boy he saw in the house after the crash – a plot detail that is poorly fleshed out.
While Washington has shown impressive acting chops, he can’t carry this muddled mess. He gives it his all, but that matters little as boredom kicks in. Written by Kevin A. Rice, from a story by director Ferdinando Cito Filomarino —’Beckett’ is a nearly nonsensical tale of cat and mouse where the mouse stands out like – well, the only Black man in all of Greece. Beckett is afforded a few clues as to the political unrest in the country and the mysterious redheaded boy, but the connections are inexplicit. Filomarino attempts to create tension and suspense, but these efforts only serve to create confusion.
As is often the case with this genre, the story gets lost in the chase and violence even though Filomarino leaves a good deal to the imagination. Beckett takes punches like a pro and manages to thwart every attempt on his life, and the people hunting him have an uncanny knack for finding him even on trains and in a crowded city filled with protestors. In the end, nothing connects in a viable way and as a result, ‘Beckett’ earns a C- in the grade book.