A pair of burglars stumbles upon a woman being held captive in a home they intended to rob.
Director Dean Devlin (Screenwriter, Independence Day) is back, ladies and gentlemen, and this time he has brought a really pissed off David Tennant, and things are going to get real. Or rather, as real as they can be when two burglars happen upon an even bigger crime and decide to do something about it. Bad Samaritan is the new crime thriller releasing this week, starring Tennant as the entitled, trust fund-baddy, Cale Ehrendreich, who squares off against two small-time thieves that uncover his dark secret.
Sean (Robert Sheehan) is a rather talented photographer living in a small studio apartment in the Portland suburbs. His beautiful, supportive girlfriend Helen (Lisa Brenner) spends time with him between her classes at med school and the two are an adorably happy pair. Sean’s a kind of mensch too, rolling up to his mother’s birthday party with an expensive gift from his odd jobs and photography. Everyone he knows loves him. He’s the all-around good guy. That is, of course, ignoring his career as a cat burglar.
“…two burglars happen upon an even bigger crime and decide to do something about it…”
Things are going along fine for Sean. He and his buddy Derek run a valet service outside a local restaurant. Their side hustle? While diners are enjoying their meals, Sean and Derek use the car’s navigation to return back to the customer’s home, if it is nearby, and they ransack the place for goodies. This has yielded them a comfortable existence. That is until Cale Ehrendreich (Tennant) rolls up in his Maserati and the two small-time crooks pull the same scheme. It all seems to be going well until they discover a woman, bound and gagged, held prisoner in the rich man’s house.
Coming clean, the two decide first to attempt a rescue. Cale is too smart for them. Then the two come clean, confessing the crime and demanding that the police inspect. Of course, they find nothing. This is because these two criminals have crossed paths with a maniac who is rarely outsmarted, and is just getting warmed up. A game of cat and mouse between the three commences and the brainiac millionaire matches wits with the streetsmart do-gooders and it’s pretty much, a fight to the death.
“…thriller that doesn’t let itself off the hook and pays off the moments that it clearly sets up.”
This is a delicious roll for Tennant, who tends to play the good guy, or at least the flawed hero. Dropping his charming British tenor for a nasally northwestern United States dialect, he seems to relish the smarmy demeanor of a man of unlimited resources and wit to do, pretty much, anything that his sickened mind dreams up. Treating his captive, Katie (Kerry Condon), like a horse that needs to be “broken” the movie recalls moments of Equus mixed with Silence of the Lambs.
The script by Brandon Boyce is a clever enough thriller that doesn’t let itself off the hook and pays off the moments that it clearly sets up. There are some scenes that strain credulity in just how much Tennant’s villain has the ability to do or how prepared he seems to be. Still, everything remains logical and grounded enough for the most part. At a certain point, you realize everyone is having so much fun with their parts in the project that you hardly want to be THAT guy that points out the annoyingly obvious.
Bad Samaritan is good. It doesn’t reach the dizzying heights of such thrillers as Silence of the Lambs, but it really doesn’t seem like it intends to. Samaritan doesn’t challenge the audience in that way. Its sole desire is to entertain, and that it does well.
Bad Samaritan is worth Good (***)
Norm’s Rating System: ****(GREAT) ***(Good) **(Ok) *(Awful)