Beckett Explained: What’s Up With the Ending?

“Beckett” / Beckett

Genre Thriller, political detective
Director Ferdinando Chito Filomarino
Starring John David Washington (Beckett), Alicia Vikander (April), Boyd Holbrook (Ben), Vicky Krips (Lena), Yorgos Pirpassopoulos (Karras) and others.
Frenesy Film Company Studios, MeMo Films, RT Features
Release year 2021
Site IMDb

When Netflix acquired the rights to the thriller, it was planned to be released under the name Born to Be Murdered. Later, the picture was renamed, focusing on a simpler version of Beckett, which echoes the name of the protagonist.

American Beckett (John David Washington) is vacationing with his girlfriend April (Alicia Vikander) while traveling through Greece. In the center of Athens, where the couple stayed, protests are taking place, so the heroes move from the capital to the hinterland of the country. Driving down a deserted road at night, they get into a car accident, crashing into an abandoned house. Waking up, Beckett realizes that he is somewhere among strangers who do not speak English. Moreover, suddenly there are people who are trying to kill the man, so he has to go on the run, not even knowing why he was targeted.

The film was directed by aspiring Italian director Ferdinando Cito Filomarino, who previously assisted Luca Guadagnino on the filming of A Bigger Splash, Call Me by Your Name and Suspiria.

There is not a single action thriller among the films listed, so Filomarino is only discovering this genre, creating a picture of slow, slightly disturbing and not always exciting episodes. Beckett begins as a love story with relationship details that are insignificant to the overall plot, and only after some time transforms into a chase movie. While the main character is trying to figure out the reason why bullets are flying in his direction, a political line appears in the tape, which is not destined to become a full-fledged detective.

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On aggregator sites, the film has a low rating, probably due to the unfortunate pace of the story. While other chase thrillers ramp up the pace of action literally by the minute, Beckett stays on a level playing field even though it has quite a bit of action going on. Perhaps the point is also that at the sight of John David Washington you involuntarily expect tension as in “Tenet” (Tenet) or passions as in “Malcolm and Marie” (Malcolm & Marie). However, here Washington has a completely different role, which obliges him to become a less heroic and moderately emotional character.

The actor plays a completely ordinary person who is coping with a stressful situation after a car accident. Unexpectedly for himself, he discovers that he is being hunted, and the hero instinctively tries to escape. What Beckett is good for is that Washington’s character doesn’t turn into a seasoned fugitive with the makings of a special agent in a matter of hours. He is poorly oriented in space and does not know the Greek language, so he does not understand what is happening around him. The hero can’t fight, can’t run fast, can’t steal someone’s vehicle to speed up his movement. Of course, the character with enviable patience ignores the pain received during numerous injuries, but this is simply necessary in order for the plot to move on.

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On the way the protagonist will meet different people, and he has no idea who can be trusted, and who intends to kill him. Likewise, the character doesn’t know why he’s in big trouble (although attentive viewers will quickly figure out why). All of these events will unfold to a hectic soundtrack from Ryuichi Sakamoto, the composer who worked on The Revenant. His music does not speed up the tempo of the picture, but adds gloomy accents to the adventures of the character of Washington, reminiscent of a movie twenty years ago.

There are no picturesque Greek landscapes in the Beckett film. It presents the life of the hinterland and railway stations, painted with graffiti. As well as the central street of Athens, where political protests take place (by the way, scenes with a rally during which panic begins are quite interesting).

And in general, all this is a good background for a mysterious story about a confused foreigner who does not know where he can be safe. It just doesn’t make for a tense thriller that can hold your attention for two hours.

Pros: John David Washington plays a completely ordinary person; the hero meets different people, not knowing which of them can be trusted; scenes with a political rally Cons: slow pace of development of the story; relationship details insignificant to the overall plot Conclusion:

Beckett is a good film with a bad pacing that makes the thriller lack tension.

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