Bad Samaritan Review (2018)

Bad Samaritan is a pacy thriller, elevated by the interplay between leads Robert Sheehan and David Tennant. The DVD is released on October 8th.

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Struggling photographer Sean Falco (Sheehan), who funds his lifestyle with a sideline in burglary, thinks he has hit the jackpot when he breaks into the luxurious house of the wealthy Cale Erendreich (Tennant).  Things go wrong when Sean discovers a woman chained up in the house. Unable to free her before Cale returns, Sean reluctantly goes to the police to explain what he’s seen. By the time they investigate, Cale has covered his tracks, and the police tell Sean to stop harassing him. Sean soon realises Cale will stop at nothing to shut him up – permanently.

Tennant’s Cale Erendreich is undoubtedly the highlight of the film, with his performance evolving from a straight-faced, emotionless man to something far more unhinged by the climax. Robert Sheehan provides a solid and likeable performance, despite playing a flawed protagonist. His involved and sympathetic performance is in perfect contrast to Tennant’s coldness and works well to establish both characters. The supporting cast round out the film, without a weak link. Carlito Olivero lends heart to Sean’s partner-in-crime Derek. Again, when the heroes have such flaws, this is not always easy and so should be commended. Some mention must be made of Kerry Condon, who handles a role that could easily be one-dimensional with considerable spark.

The film spends a large amount of time keeping the two main characters apart, interacting mainly through telephones. It is an indicator of the talent of both actors that they are able to sustain this interplay and maintain the build to their confrontation. The violence is surprisingly brutal when it appears and the suggestions of violence are also considerably unpleasant. An early reveal is genuinely shocking and excellently constructed. Throughout, the twists and turns, primarily revolving around technology feel fresh and innovative.

Bad Samaritan

Cale’s ability to disrupt Sean’s life in every conceivable way requires a serious amount of suspension of disbelief, but the increasing levels of spectacle make the film engaging and enjoyable enough to surrender to. As a result, there’s a level of fun to be had in guessing what will happen next, but you still care enough about Sean to root for him against the odds. There are some small elements of humour and although in sometimes unexpected places and often against the wider tone of the film, they work.

The DVD contains an English Hard of Hearing subtitle track and also boasts some deleted scenes and a very short Behind The Scenes clip. The deleted scenes are enjoyable, mostly involving further elements of Cale’s sabotaging of Sean’s life, but also some particularly touching moments that would have been nice to see in the final film.

In sum, if you are looking for a fast-moving thriller anchored by interesting performances, you won’t be disappointed with Bad Samaritan.

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