The Samaritan Reviews
Good movie! This film represents a dying breed of crime thriller in which character and plot take precedence over action and special effects. It could have drowned in a sea of car chases, shootouts, brutal fistfights, and even gore. Whatever we do see in those respects is used only when absolutely necessary. That's good when those moments finally happen, they will elicit authentic shock and excitement from the audience. No one will be numb from scene after scene of mindless violence and choreography. All in all, it was a thoroughly entertaining flick which is worth a watch.
After twenty years in prison, Foley is finished with the grifter's life. When he meets an elusive young woman named Iris, the possibility of a new start looks real. But his past is proving to be a stubborn companion.
The performances are restrained but not in a good way. Everybody here seems completely bored, as if they're looking forward to a nice tidy paycheck more so than a solid performance.
Furthermore, the piano based soundtrack attempts to create a very sad, melancholic tone for the picture, but it quickly starts to feel very monotonous. Combined with an uninteresting visual style where everything seems filmed under gold filters, The Samaritan just treads along in a meandering fashion that never manages to engage. Its minor twists aren't enough to make up for a story that we've seen way too many times before.
For the most part, The Samaritan runs as well as any big screen crime drama. If one were to watch this story without knowing it's an indie flick, one would think it was a major blockbuster that they simply hadn't heard of. That's thanks in large part to the story's writing. It's got enough crosses and double crosses to leave audiences guessing who is on whose side right to the story's closing minutes. The fact that the movie clocks in at barely over an hour and a half makes it that much more watchable for audiences. Perhaps the only major downside to the story would be the blatantly disturbing twist involving Foley's relationship to Iris (Ruth Negga). The way in which this relationship played into the story was disturbing to say the least. The argument would be made that that was the intent. But it could have been written differently than it was. Had their relationship been written differently into the story, then that alone might have made it far more appealing to general audiences.
The issue with Foley and Iris' relationship aside, The Samaritan still has plenty going for it. The cinematography is stunning. The shooting done throughout the film really gives it a modern pulp fiction vibe. There's something about the way that the lighting was used that makes watching the movie appealing. The contrast of the buildings lit up against the night sky, and the general camera angles add a certain extra touch that makes it that much more enjoyable. Combine the top notch cinematography with a story that will keep viewers on the edge of their seats the entire time, and audiences have a movie that while it is an indie flick is one more impressive work from one of Hollywood's best actors.
David Weaver's directing debut shows an almost extreme devotion to the conventional thriller formula in terms of plot: After being imprisoned for 20 years for the murder of his best friend, Foley (Samuel Jackson) is finally finished with his life of crime, and tries to start again with his new lover. However, his past is slowly catching up with him. It's by the books in almost every sense, so Weaver and Jackson resolve the problem by playing the formula to the best of their abilities, rather than tweak it too harshly. Other than a bizarre Oldboy-esque twist, and a downright ridiculous conclusion, every plot point, reveal, or piece of dialogue can be predicted from several minutes away. However, it's clear Weaver isn't necessarily trying anything too ambitious: What's more important is how well he directs what we already know.
Samuel Jackson gives one of his finer performances, or at least his finest in a while, as Foley, a former criminal trying to break clean from his former life of crime. Though he doesn't necessarily play the character with very much striking emotion, his lack of feeling gives the protagonist a nuanced detachment from the film surrounding it; a choice which works highly in the film's favor. Also very good is an almost cameoed Tom Wilkinson (Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol) as a notorious crime lord with an almost indecipherable accent. His performance is both simultaneously believable, and an enjoyably manic respite from the melancholic violence surrounding it. While both Luke Kirby and Ruth Negga play highly substantial roles, nothing can be said toward their performances, because they weren't particularly memorable.
The Samaritan is an entertaining, decent pulpy thriller. Though I know I enjoyed the film in the present, I would be curious to see how much I remember from it six months from now, because of how similar the film is to others of its ilk. Though I can honestly say I liked it, similar to Seeking Justice, I'm not particularly sure I can recommend it. It's simply satisfactory pulp, and little more.
(2012) The Samaritan
The situation is as follows, Samuel L. Jackson who is one of 11 executive producers, he stars as Foley who's just got out of prison after serving 25 years. He of course is not really a free man since he has to report for parole. At this point we initially don't know the real reason why he's in prison but as it turns out, it has something to do with shooting his partner who used to work as "Grifters" another slang for con-men. And apparently, as soon as he was let out, almost immediately he was confronted by the son of the partner Foley was forced to shoot and sent to prison for and his name is Ethan (Luke Kirby). At first, the audience assumes that Ethan has no malice towards Foley for shooting his father to death since both of them used to be involved into a shady business, but as it turns out Ethan very much want Foley to go back to the very business he was trying to avoid once getting out which is conning unsuspecting wealthy bad people. The movie dwells on Foley's complicated dilemma as Ethan continues to put more pressure Foley's blue-collar life, one of which is something coming from "Oldboy". Also, there's also some inspirations of 1990 movie called "The Grifters". This is just the low budget variation of "Oldboy" and "The Grifters". And I would've give this movie a pass except the ending totally sucked.
2 out of 4 stars