Tonight’s film was The Samaritan, it was okay, but it didn’t really spark anything with me. Samuel L Jackson plays Foley, a former grifter who has just been released from prison after serving a twenty-five year sentence for the murder of his partner. Now on the outside, he tries to live a clean life, but gets pulled back into the criminal world by Ethan, the son of his former partner who has a grift planned. To get Foley on board, Ethan (Luke Kirby), manipulates him with Iris (Ruth Negga), a young woman he saves in a bar but who also has ties to Foley’s past that neither of them realize.
While I liked the performances, I just didn’t think this movie “moved”. It had a very slow build, and just when I thought it would get exciting ;to see the intricate con to swindle eight million dollars from a crime lord play out; the story kind of fell apart, almost rushing to the finish line. The con is barely explained or set up, save with a series of time lapse shots of Foley exercising in a hotel, drinking wine (their mark (Tom Wilkinson) is a wine connoisseur…), and getting fit for a suit. When a key player in the con needs to be replaced by Iris hours before the payoff, and they still carry it out, the film stops being smart or believable. The film tried to be “noir-ish”, but fell flat because the con, that should have been central to the story, fell flat. I love to see a con play out in the movies, either as a clever, tense, taut thriller, or as a fun, light hearted romp; The Samaritan’s was neither. The clever writing and twist played halfway through the film was wasted on me, because as it played out, I could not find a reason to be interested in the outcome.
It was nice to see Toronto on the big screen again, as the film was clearly shot there, with Canadian money, Ontario licence plates, and the CN Tower clearly on screen. I don’t think I can recommend this one to many except for the die hard Jackson fans, and even they may find it falls flat. It’s not that the movie was bad, it’s just that it wasn’t good.
so my internet has died here, let’s see how posting the (thankfully saved) draft works from my phone…