Monday, 7 September 2020

Bad Samaritan - 2018 film review

David Tennant is such a fine (and versatile) actor that he can lift any TV programme or film in which he appears a notch or two. That's certainly the case with Bad Samaritan, an American movie in which he plays a ruthless serial killer, Cale Erendreich, with such gusto that every scene in which he appears makes compulsive viewing.

At first, though, the focus is on Robert Sheehan, playing Sean Falco, a young guy with a lovely girlfriend and a dodgy way of life. He and his pal Derek (Carlito Olivero) are scammers whose work as car valets at a restaurant gives them a chance to rob people they take a dislike to. Erendreich is among their targets, but Sean finds that he's bitten off more than he can chew. When he breaks into Erendreich's home, he finds a terrified young woman called Katie, tied up in circumstances that make it clear that Erendreich is up to something very, very unpleasant.

The rest of the film is about Sean's mission to rescue Katie, a task which endangers his life and those of the people close to him. Erendreich is not only cruel, he is exceptionally wealthy, and he uses his technological expertise to pursue the young man who is making his life difficult. The police aren't much help to Sean - he's on his own.

Hokum, perhaps, but it's exciting hokum, and pretty well done. I found myself gripped by the pace of Brandon Boyce's script as well as by the excellence of Tennant's performance (and Sheehan's, too). I gather the reviews generally have been mixed, and if you're looking for something profound, you are likely to be disappointed. But serial killer movies are seldom profound. Bad Samaritan is one of the better ones, and certainly delivers in terms of entertainment.

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