Ferdinando Cito Filomarino’s Beckett tells the story of an American tourist who finds himself caught up in a Grecian political conspiracy. Starring the likes of John David Washington and Alicia Vikander, the film on paper is a star-studded action thriller with the potential to dazzle. But does it live up to expectations?
Written by Niamh Brook
We first meet the titular tourist Beckett (John David Washington) and his girlfriend April (Alicia Vikander), flirting their way through tourist sites whilst on holiday in Greece. Not your usual opening for an action thriller, but Washington and Vikander’s chemistry is electric throughout this first act, drawing you into the couple's lives and creating a clear, loving bond between the pair. Sadly, this bond is swiftly cut short after a car crash ultimately kills April, thrusting Beckett right into the middle of a political conspiracy that causes him to run for his life throughout the Grecian landscape. It should also be noted the way in which the film uses the killing of April in order to further Beckett's story is ultimately undermined even when the narrative surrounding the devastating effects of grief is swiftly forgotten in favour of Beckett suddenly becoming a bog-standard action hero in the final act.
The first act creates a somewhat intriguing mystery for viewers to solve, as we follow Beckett flee for his life. Filomarino’s use of cinematography, his scarce use of score and his withdrawal of information manages to engage the viewer’s senses, making them mirror Beckket’s disorientation. This trick works wonderfully during the beginning of the film and truly draws you into the mystery; however, this reliance on form begins to get tiresome, leaving you desperate for some form of plot to eventually kick in.
Unfortunately, this never happens. And as a result, Beckett falls victim to an underdeveloped script, a slog of a third act and one too many underdeveloped characters. A film that had great potential is ultimately a busy mess. At no point in the film do we ever truly get any dramatic payoff; instead, the latter half treats us to a multitude of generic action set pieces that feels disconnected from the intrigue built up in the beginning.
Whilst the latter half of the film proved itself to be a boring slog of a watch, it must be noted that Washington gave an incredible performance throughout the film’s dragging 115 minute run time. Showcasing his incredible talent, Washington does his best with what he is given, delivering a gut-wrenching performance that becomes the highlight of the film.
Beckett opens with great promise with great performances from both Washington and Viaknder, however, the novelty soon wears off. Beckett becomes less of a thriller, and more of a bother to finish, with a lack of well-rounded characters and a thought out script. This can be described simply with one word: Dull.