Released 2021. Director: Ferdinando Cito Filomarino
BECKETT AND APRIL ARE A COUPLE OF AMERICAN TOURISTS ENJOYING A ROMANTIC HOLIDAY IN GREECE. Driving on a mountainous road one night, Beckett falls asleep, loses control and the car goes over the edge. April dies instantly and Beckett finds himself embroiled in the kidnapping of a politician’s young son.
Now put the word ‘Run’ before and after the title, and it pretty much describes the movie. Released from hospital with only an injured arm, Beckett goes back to the scene of the accident when a woman appears and fires at him. She is soon joined by one of the cops who spoke to Beckett earlier. Turns out Beckett is pretty good at navigating the Greek countryside and manages to evade his pursuers who not only hunts him down but also kill innocent bystanders who try to help the injured stranger.
Beckett has no idea why they’re after him until, purely by chance (or what I like to point out as a plot contrivance) he runs into two activists on the street putting up posters of a kidnapped child. Beckett recognises the child from the time of his accident.
Okay, let’s pause here for a minute. I have to say this is a little far fetched. The man dozes off while driving, his car goes off the road at speed, flies down a slope, flips, rolls and crashes through the wall of an abandoned house, and now he’s strapped in his seat upside down. You’re telling me he’s certain of what he saw through a cracked windscreen?
Given his condition after being spun around violently (April goes through the windscreen), I’d say it’s extremely unlikely he’s able to positively identify any person he’s never seen before. But Beckett is dead certain, and the two activists believe him and agree to give him a ride to Athens.
Another point I find incredulous is the reaction of the bad guys. Why do they bother to kill Beckett in the first place? He’s a foreigner who doesn’t speak the language and what he most wants to do is return home to America with his girlfriend’s body. He doesn’t know anything and he’s not here to stir up any trouble. Killing a foreign tourist would only create problems and unnecessary attention. The man’s groggy from a car crash, who’d believe him anyway?
So they hunt Beckett down and he runs and runs, and that’s just about the whole movie. Don’t get me wrong, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. Harrison Ford spends all his time running in The Fugitive (1993) and I’d happily see it again and again because it’s really very well made and you care that Ford clears his name.
Beckett, on the other hand, is like a race with predetermined stops where the characters must check in and the movie is missing a sense of thrill. One aspect I find clever though is the decision to not feature English subtitles on screen when the characters are speaking Greek. Beckett’s helplessness in the situation feels worse for the audience when we, like him, have no idea what’s being said around him.
Beckett the man is shot at, stabbed and slashed and John David Washington clearly tries to dig deeper than the material he’s given to give his character some kind of emotional edge. Alicia Vikander has a limited screen time as April but she makes the best of it. Vicky Krieps is very much under-developed and wasted as the sympathetic activist. The villains, who turn out to be some bad seeds at the police and American consulate, don’t fare much better than generic baddies who chase and shoot, a simple representation of people in a position of power but not to be trusted.
By the time the accidental tourist helps to rescue the kidnapped child, the movie has taken us around the block several times. Our hero has leapt off a sharp rocky cliff, waded across a river, fought off pursuers with knives and guns, jumped off a window, even a multi-storey carpark, but the movie is kinda flat and not terribly exciting despite all the action. Any depictions or allusions to political corruption and economic strife in Greece are lost because the main machinery of the narrative is running on half tank. With so much running and chasing, someone has forgotten to bring a sense of paranoia.
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