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John David Washington deserves better than Beckett

The old adage of “wrong place wrong time” is the centerpiece of Netflix’s latest thriller, Beckett. While vacationing in Greece with his girlfriend April (Alicia Vikander), American tourist Beckett (John David Washington) becomes the target of a manhunt after a devastating accident. Forced to run for his life and desperate to get across the country to the American embassy to clear his name. While political unrest mounts, tensions escalate as the authorities close in, and Beckett falls even deeper into a dangerous web of conspiracy.

Ferdinando Cito Filomarino is in the director’s chair for Beckett and collaborates on the screenplay with Kevin A. Rice. Beckett opens up with an intimate moment between Beckett (John David Washington) and April (Alicia Vikander). The scene sets up a great chemistry between the two before setting up the general plot of the film. The accident that they experience has a sense of realism. Initially, I thought the director and writer were setting up something similar to 1988’s Frantic but instead, the film takes a route that doesn’t really work.

The script wisely avoids using Beckett as an allegory for racism and it instead plays on our title character and his nationalism. When the true angle for the film’s motives and why Beckett is a target, I had a slight eye roll. The set-up is just somewhat lazy and far-fetched. In turn, this affects the acting in the film.

Alicia Vikander is in here with what amounts to stunt casting. Vicky Krieps and Boyd Holbrook do what they can with the weak material but both actors are capable of far better. Finally, our lead, John David Washington, brings his usual charisma to the role but it is the weakest of his most recent films. While I can’t give Beckett my full recommendation, I do advise audiences to form their own opinion and check it out.

Final Grade: C

Beckett is streaming on Netflix next Friday, August 13th.

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