Movie Review | Beckett: A masterful action-packed political thriller

‘Beckett’ is an action-packed thriller set against a political background in Greece. It’s about an ordinary man in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Starring John David Washington, the unfortunate protagonist is trapped in an extraordinary scenario. While on vacation in a remote hilly region of Greece with his girlfriend April (Alicia Vikander), his car slips off the road and lands through the roof of a house. The crash kills his girlfriend immediately, and just before he could faint, in his emergency, he sees a young boy being whipped away from the scene by a woman.

He later wakes up in a hospital, and while telling details about the accident to the police, he is told to his surprise that the house where he and April had crashed was an abandoned one. He later visits the scene of the accident only to be shot by people with weapons, and they include the police officer who was supposed to help him.

Caught unexpectedly, he runs for his life. In the process, he breaks his arm and is wounded by a gunshot. In his desperate attempt, he decides to contact the US Embassy for protection, only to be told that help could only reach him a day later.

To speed up the process, Beckett decides to travel from the mountain top to the embassy in Athens. Along the way, he realizes that the boy he had seen at the scene of the accident was kidnapped for a political agenda. Therefore, his and the lives of the several people who help him during his journey are also in danger.

It is during the film’s second act, which is the cat-and-mouse hunt between the police officer and Beckett, that we realize that the film is set against the backdrop of the fight against austerity in Greece, which involved a series of demonstrations and general strikes.

The plot of the film may seem simple without gimmicks, spectacular visual effects or over-the-top stunts, the narrative is fluid and striking. It does not give you time to think about how Beckett was transformed from a victim of a terrible accident into a refugee on the run into an unconscious hero. You will be drawn with him into his journey.

Seeing the injured Beckett navigate through the streets and people’s hearts despite a lack of language skills is what makes you root him. The action scenes where he fights his pursuers in rustic survival knock-down attempts are what make him the underdog one rejoices with.

Alicia Vikander, in a sweet romantic role as April, leaves her impression that lasts to the last. Yes, you remember her presence in the last act as the camera focuses on Beckett’s palm where you see the heart she had drawn.

Vicky Krieps, who plays a casual political activist, is charming but wasted in this film. Her interactions with Washington, despite being humane, lack the weight of a great artist.

Director Ferdinando Cito Filomarino and his film photographer, Sayombhu Mukdeeprom, have creatively edited the film. Each frame ingeniously captures the meticulous but inherent elements of the narrative.

Overall, Beckett is a simple, yet great thriller.

–By Troy Ribeiro

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