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John David Washington

BECKETT” My rating: B (Netflix)

110 minutes | No MPAA rating

There’s a Hitchcockian simplicity to Ferdinando Cito Filomarino’s Beckett,” a man-on-the-run thriller that benefits as much from what it doesn’t do as what it does.

John David Washington plays the title character, an American vacationing in Greece with his girlfriend April (Alicia Vikander).

On a winding rural road at night Becket falls asleep behind the wheel. He awakens to find April unconcious, their vehicle having careened down a steep hill and smack into a farmhouse.

Before passing out Beckett witnesses a woman and a red-haired boy, apparently the residents.

After a couple of days in the hospital and traumatic phone calls back to the States, our man is interviewed by the local police chief (Panos Karonos) who informs him that the farmhouse into which he crashed had been unoccupied for years.

Certain that he saw someone in the house immediately after the accident, Beckett returns to the scene…only to find himself dodging bullets from the cop and a female cohort (Lena Kitsopoulou). Obviously the Yank has stumbled across some deep dark secret; now he’s being framed as a criminal.

So he goes on the run, desperate to get to Athens and sanctuary in the American embassy.

And that’s about all the plot that matters. Later on “Beckett” will dabble in international politics and assassination, but mostly this is a hang-on-by-your-fingernails tale of close escapes and mounting paranoia in a drop-dead beautiful setting.

“Beckett” works because Washington’s character is not some sort of superhero or MacGuyer-esque genius. He’s a grief-wracked everyguy who survives as much through pure luck as smart thinking.

Only once, in the final chase, does Becket do something patently unrealistic, and by that time we’re in a forgiving mood.

| Robert W. Butler

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