Bad Samaritan


Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

Bad Samaritan
"Dean Devlin's thriller is well structured and features cleverly thought out action sequences that maximise the potential in simple shifts of power."

It's a classic film noir style plot. Sean (Robert Sheehan) and Derek (Carlito Olivero) are young chancers who work as valets at an expensive restaurant and run a scam on the side. Using the journey planning software in the cars they're asked to park, they drive back to the diners' homes whilst they're busy and break in to steal jewellery or credit card details. One night, however, Sean finds something in a locked room that he doesn't expect. A young woman, gagged and bound to a chair, covered in bruises.

There is never any doubt in Sean's mind about what he should do. He may be a thief but he's not a monster. Unfortunately he has limited time. Unable to free the woman before the owner of the house returns, he resorts to making an anonymous call to the police, hiding and watching as they approach the house. Watching as they talk politely to the owner and leave.

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Haunted by the thought of what might be happening to the woman, Sean concludes that he has no choice but to rescue her himself. But he's way out of his depth, and once the kidnapper realises what's going on, he's in significant danger himself.

Dean Devlin's thriller is well structured and features cleverly thought out action sequences that maximise the potential in simple shifts of power. Sheehan makes a likeable lead and is energetic enough to convince in the action scenes yet skinny enough to seem vulnerable, making him easier for the average viewer to relate to. As the villain, David Tennant tries out another version of a smug rich boy act he has honed well. It's unfortunate that he suffers from wandering action syndrome but most of the time he doesn't need to speak for us to get the message about what he's up to.

Sean is given a love interest in the form of Jacqueline Byers; we don't see much of her but she lets us observe the childlike side of his personality, and her presence means that we're freed from the discomfort of the all too familiar hero rescuing a vulnerable woman so she'll fall into bed with him narrative. In fact, the damsel in distress element of the story is itself overturned by a single well-placed line towards the end, and by the fierceness of Kerry Condon's performance. Though she approaches her role very differently, the effect is similar to that achieved by Johanna ter Steege in The Vanishing - we can understand why Sean can't forget her. The question is, what will it cost him to remember?

A tight little film which does a good job of living up to its bold premise, Bad Samaritan makes occasional slips but delivers, overall, a solid two hours of entertainment.

Reviewed on: 24 Aug 2018
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Bad Samaritan packshot
A pair of burglars stumble upon a woman being held captive in a home they intended to rob.
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Director: Dean Devlin

Writer: Brandon Boyce

Starring: David Tennant, Kerry Condon, Robert Sheehan

Year: 2018

Runtime: 110 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: US


Frightfest 2018

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