FOR THOSE OF YOU HAVE NOT YET SEEN BECKETT, THIS IS A NON-SPOILER REVIEW.
Going into Beckett, I had not seen the trailer and all I knew was that it starred the extremely talented John David Washington and it was from the Assistant director of Call Me By Your Name. So, I was pretty much expecting a well-acted and gorgeously shot film… and I most certainly received those things in spades. However, I was not at all prepared for Beckett to be the brutal, intense and captivating masterpiece that it turned out to be.
WHAT IS BECKETT ALL ABOUT?
Beckett is an American tourist traveling in Greece with his girlfriend April. His life is upended after a tragic car accident occurs during their trip. Whilst dealing with his grief, Beckett is then thrust into the center of a dangerous political conspiracy and on the run for his life… in a country completely foreign to him.
HOW IS THE FILMMAKING HERE?
Ferdinando Cito Filomarino’s film is an ode to the paranoid political thrillers of the 70’s. The hyper-realistic filming techniques create a raw and visceral feeling throughout the entirety of Beckett. The over-dramatized and highly impactful score by Ryuichi Sakamoto takes you straight back to this overwhelming notion that you are not watching a film of this time, but eras long past. The on-location shots; transport you immediately to Greece. In all of its beauty and ugliness. As a viewer, you cannot help, but put yourself in Beckett’s shoes… as he doesn’t understand the language, the terrain or the politics of this country. The character remains lost, scarred and terrified… and we feel the same.
There are certain audience members who will be put off by the slow pace at the beginning of the film, which are the only moments that Beckett is allowed to breathe. But, let me promise you this… once the plot kicks in to high gear, this movie never lets up. The tension is heightened as the stakes are constantly being raised. And the film never allows you to see where it is going, which leads to an experience that can be at once overwhelming, yet exhilarating in its uncertainty.
HOW IS JOHN DAVID WASHINGTON IN THE LEAD ROLE?
John David Washington, although a relatively new performer on the scene, continues to prove himself time and again. The actor is constantly taking on difficult roles that push him to the brink. In Beckett, he pushes himself past the brink. This man goes through hell and back and the physical demands of this performance are extraordinary. And although Beckett strips him of much dialogue, just like what Washington had to deal with in Tenet… unlike in that film, I felt a true connection to this protagonist in lieu of his struggles. Through all of the blood, sweat, spit and tears… Washington has fully immersed himself in this character and it is astounding to watch.
Beckett is a tour-de-force from the very beginning all the way to its powerful ending. Whether you have nostalgia for films from the seventies and eighties, are fascinated by political intrigue, are a sucker for heart-stopping thrill-rides, profound character studies or brutal action/adventures… Any lover of cinema will most certainly find a deep adoration for this Netflix Original.
They really don’t make movies like this anymore… or I guess in the case of Beckett, they do.
Beckett will be streaming on Netflix Friday, August 13th.
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