- Hamish Hart
Beckett (2021) Review
Updated: Oct 18, 2021
THE RISE of John David Washington has been a rapid one, starring in Oscar-nominated films BlacKkKlansman and Tenet. However, to no fault of his own, Washington's latest role sees him star in a mundane political thriller that hopefully doesn't halt the rising star's momentum.
American tourists Beckett (John David Washington) and April (Alicia Vikander) are enjoying their long-awaited trip to Greece. However, when a tragic car accident befalls the happy couple, Beckett finds himself in the centre of a political coverup as he begins to be chased by multiple assassins, leading to multiple twists and turns throughout his life-or-death journey of redemption and self-reflection.
Beckett borrows from a plethora of political thrillers, but this wasn't necessarily a negative aspect of the film; its narrative and score felt more like a tribute to a bygone era of action movies similar to that of Rambo rather than a blatant ripoff. However, this doesn't excuse the film's poor pacing as while it starts off decent enough with somewhat engaging characters in the form of Beckett and April, the film takes a tiring left turn, becoming increasingly tedious and boring before reaching a climax which doesn't feel earned due to the stale storytelling which preceded.
Washington and Vikander are incredibly talented performers, infusing emotion into any performance they give. But in Beckett, their chemistry failed to evoke any kind of emotional response, with alot of their dialogue during the first act coming off as disingenuous; it felt like they were reading from a script rather than embracing the meaning behind their married characters. Much of the emotional substance instead emanated from the film's underlining messages, with the ending in particular managing to make up for the lacklustre performances as while it was abundantly obvious what the film's message was going to be, the most obvious choice is often the best as proven by Beckett's emotionally-supercharged, relatable final words which I won't spoil.
Greece provided awe-inspiring sceneries for Beckett to utilise. Scenes of Washington running through the luscious landscapes of inner and outer Athens created a sense of profound realism that wouldn't have been achieved if the film were filmed anywhere else. Production elements such as the film's score and cinematography were also adequate; nothing blatantly offensive, but sadly, Beckett's beautiful scenery doesn't make up for its monotonous structure, lifeless performances and substandard script.
Netflix's latest original film may not be the worst piece of "entertainment" currently available on the streaming service, but if you're looking for an engaging political thriller with interesting story and character development, Beckett may not be the one for you.