- Jennifer Green
This action-packed thriller aims to exploit the unexpected, offering a suspenseful watch with a unique combination of storyline, location, and actors. As such, viewers would be wise to read little and avoid spoilers to get the most out of the novelty of Beckett, which will diminish on repeat viewings.
The film's Italian director and producer seem aware that this part of Europe is too often depicted on international screens as little more than a sunlit tourist destination, and they send Beckett scrambling over rocky cliffs and through rural villages far from Greece's iconic Mediterranean islands, on his way to a sprawling, monument-free Athens.
Likewise, the decision not to translate or subtitle chunks of conversations between Greek characters adds to a feeling of "foreign-ness" and additional suspense for viewers who don't speak Greek.
The political backstory of this movie might feel complicated to some viewers, but anyone with a passing interest in European politics will recognize real-to-life themes, and the plot is painted in very broad strokes mostly as justification for the action.
Choosing a Black actor for the lead role in a film with no other Black characters, despite a medley of nationalities and accents among secondary actors, might have been used to add layers to the characterization. But instead the film takes pains to avoid any treatment of race. When he considers overdosing on sedatives or suffers panic attacks, Beckett's Everyman profile is reinforced, but the character's key emotions and Washington's performance here are mostly limited to fear, confusion, and pain.
Read the full review at Common Sense Media.