Denzel Washington’s son John David was the mysterious agent in Christopher Nolan’s Tenet. From today he can be seen on Netflix in the action thriller “Beckett”. And again he doesn’t know what is happening to him.
At the beginning of the film, American lovers Beckett (John David Washington) and April (Alicia Vikander) are out and about in the Greek mountains. They tease each other, they tease each other, they love each other.
This is followed by one of those nocturnal car journeys on a winding mountain road, during which the phone is tampered with, joked, kissed in love – and the question is clearly not whether there will be an accident, just when. It takes time. But it comes as it has to.
Rushed on the way
And then John David Washington is rushed on the road again, without knowing what is happening to him, as in “Tenet”.
Because now begins a well-made, almost classic genre thriller, a “The Wrong Man” story in the tradition of Hitchcock’s “North by Northwest” or “The Fugitive”.
He doesn’t know who, or why, but Beckett is now on the run. At the scene of the car accident, a blonde woman shoots him with a pistol. The policeman who had previously questioned Beckett in a friendly manner on the ward arrives later. He’s shooting at him too.
The pleasantly mysterious genre cinema remains for a long time, Beckett always escapes his pursuers by a hair’s breadth, on foot, on the train, in the trunk. He is shot, pierced, cut and cracked. But he doesn’t give up.
Then, however, a background story about the kidnapping of a politician’s son, about the Greek opposition and the ultra-nationalist Golden Dawn, and we have once again an unsuspecting US citizen who is running for his life in the chaos of a foreign country without knowing how he is happens.
All of this fits into the new international world of Netflix. The stars are popular names from Hollywood. Director Ferdinando Cito Filomarino learned his trade at the University of Bologna, won his first prizes at the Locarno Film Festival (where the film was shown as the opening spectacle last week) and the producer of this first English-language film by Filomarino is the new superman of international Italian cinema , Luca Guadagnino (“Call Me by Your Name”, “Suspiria”).
The film has a number of models, in addition to Hitchcock or “The Fugitive” for the genre tradition, for example, the films of the angry young Greeks of the last fifteen years, for the rather idiosyncratic, politically charged European setting.
The Netflix irony
This fits in with Netflix’s strategy of preparing localized productions for an international audience. Whether the action is set in Israel, as in “Fauda”, in Germany, as with the “Biohackers” or in Greece before the real euro crisis: The world comes on the streaming screen in appetizing portions.
The Netflix irony, if you will, shows itself again at the end of “Beckett”, when the American has redeemed his personal debt with heroic commitment and has become the hero of the hour. Fortunately, the fade-out comes first.
“Beckett” is an exciting genre variation and anyone who is inclined to understand certain clichés ironically can get something out of their Netflix evening.
“Beckett” runs from today on Netflix.