Film Review: No Good Deed

No_Good_Deed_2014_movie_posterFrances Winston found this thriller to be a little formulaic, even with great talents like Elba and Henson pulling their weight.

Directed by: Sam Miller – Starring: Idris Elba, Taraji P. Henson, Leslie Bibb, Kate del Castillo, Henry Simmons

Luther star, Idris Elba, has fuelled more than a few sexual fantasies since he first came to prominence, but after watching this, people will probably want a restraining order against him rather than a night of passion. While Idris himself seems like a lovely man in real life, the character he plays here is about as nasty as they get.

He portrays Colin, who is denied parole five years into a manslaughter sentence. Unfortunately for those in charge of watching him, the parole hearing means a day excursion for the killer, and on the way back to the prison he escapes, taking out a couple of people in the process.

He immediately heads in search of his ex-fiancée Alexis (Castillo) and when it is confirmed that she was cheating on him, he kills her. When he then crashes his car, he knocks on the door of Terri (Henson) and asks for help. Shocked at the state of the stranger on her doorstep she lets him in and tends to his injuries, as he charms her and her friend Meg, who is clearly attracted to him.

However, he later kills Meg, and tells Terri that she has left, before terrorising her and her young children. When he forces her to drive him and the children away from the area in her car, she thinks she sees an opportunity for escape when she spots a policeman, but Colin shoots him also.

After separating her from her children, he leaves her alone with Alexis’ body, and she soon discovers that he didn’t randomly choose her as a victim. Determined not to go the way of her friend, she finds her children and attempts to get away from the vicious psychopath, but only one of them is getting out alive.

Although there are several cast members, this is very much Elba’s and Henson’s film. Unfortunately, their talents are somewhat wasted here. There is no build-up of suspense – we know from the off that Colin is a vicious murderer. Therefore we are pretty certain of the danger that Terri finds herself in. Both do well with what they are given, and sustain our interest far longer than such a weak script should, but ultimately you are not gripped.

The story is a pretty formulaic one, and we’ve seen it all before. Even the supposed twists are no surprise, and there are no “I didn’t see that coming” moments, which a thriller such as this demands. It is atmospheric, and the soundtrack is well above average for this sort of movie. It is just a pity that the material wasn’t stronger, as the two leads are extremely talented, and would have done a truly amazing job with a meatier plot and dialogue.

The presence of Elba will be enough to keep some people interested, but this is the kind of movie you forget about five minutes after you’ve watched it. A thriller by numbers, this never really takes off the way it should, and given the calibre involved, it should be far better than it is.

In cinemas November 21st

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