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‘Beckett’ On Netflix: New Thriller Set In Greece Starring John David Washington

By News Creatives Authors , in Business , at August 13, 2021

Beckett, the newest film starring John David Washington, is on Netflix from August 13, after it premiered at the Locarno Film Festival earlier this month. Produced by Luca Guadagnino’s Frenesy Film Company and Memo Films Production with Rai cinema, in association with RT and Wise Features, Beckett appears a conventional chase thriller that sees Washington running for his life amidst political unrest in Greece.

Beckett follows American tourist Beckett (John David Washington) on holiday in Greece with his girlfriend April (Alicia Vikander). Disaster strikes after a devastating accident. For reasons unbeknownst to Beckett, he becomes the target of a manhunt. As he is forced to run for his life, Beckett is desperate to reach the American embassy in Athens to clear his name. Beckett though seems to be falling further into a dangerous web of conspiracy and political tensions.

Beckett is directed by Ferdinando Cito Filomarino. It is his first English-language film, after working as second unit director for Luca Guadagnino’s features, most notably Call Me By Your Name and Suspiria. Beckett is a film clearly inspired by the manhunt/chase film genre, emulating its tropes, with a plot that is less believable, but salvaged by a strong leading performance.

Beckett is the story of a man at the wrong place at the wrong time. The film opens with Beckett and girlfriend April in bed, seemingly making up after a big fight. “No matter what, we’re always on each other’s side,” she tells him. In the film’s opening sequence, the honeymoon phase of their relationship is established, with all its usual clichés. “I’m having a love attack,” he tells her as they stare into each other’s eyes. They are clearly very much in love. A love that feels doomed the instant she points out that nobody knows where they are, as the two American tourists have ventured into the Grecian countryside in order to avoid an upcoming big demonstration in Athens.

Their swooning romance is thus unfortunately cut short after a tragic car accident. The car crashes into an abandoned house, where Beckett sees a young boy being pulled away by a woman as he calls for help. Beckett makes the innocent mistake of telling a policeman what he saw at the house. Grieving, Beckett returns to the scene of the accident to end his life, but is interrupted by a woman shooting at him. Forgetting the reason why he made his way to the house, Beckett runs for his life. The woman is soon joined by the policeman (played by Panos Koronis), and they begin to hunt the American tourist across the Grecian countryside, brutalizing any of the locals Beckett comes into contact with. His only way to safety, Beckett thinks, is to reach the American embassy in Athens.

Beckett is completely clueless as to why he is being pursued. It is only when reaching another city where he meets German expat Lena (a convincing Vicky Krieps), that he discovers the reason why he is being hunted down. He witnessed something he should not have seen.

Beckett is a gripping film. This is largely due to John David Washington’s performance in my opinion, as the plot feels at time so improbable. Each twist in the film, and every explanation given, especially those given by American embassy agent Tynan (played by Boyd Holbrook), are rather unconvincing. Nonetheless, you will want to know and see what happens to Beckett.

The moments that were most memorable for me in Beckett are those in which Beckett isn’t running at all, the moments in-between the action sequences—even though there are some spectacular ones. When, for example, a cat approaches him while he waits for a train, when a stray dog follows him in a street, or when he looks on at the other passengers in the Athenian subway anxious to get to his stop. In these instances, the camera frames Washington’s face, a distraught, confused and pained expression that seem to imply short moments of reflection for Beckett—seconds of stillness that allows him to think back at what is happening to him. These instances, enhanced by Ryuichi Sakamoto’s beautiful score, recur throughout the film like punctuation, anchoring the movie with emotional depth, and become particularly poignant in the film’s parting shot.

Although some of the plot twists feel less credible, Beckett is a gripping chase thriller clearly inspired by the great movies of the genre.


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