No Good Deed
DVD Review by Kam Williams
Headline: Taraji P. Henson and Idris Elba Match Wits in Riveting Thriller
While this movie is by no means a masterpiece, it is nevertheless a tautly-wound nail-biter which keeps you on the edge of your seat from beginning to end. And yes, there is a humdinger of a revelation during the denouement, not a totally preposterous development but rather a plausible one which was merely cleverly-concealed.
The movie marks the theatrical directorial debut of Sam Miller, who is best known for Luther, the brilliant BBC-TV series featuring Idris Elba in the title role for which he won a Golden Globe in 2012. The two collaborate again here, with Idris playing Colin Evans, a serial killer who, at the point of departure, slays a couple of prison guards during a daring escape from a Tennessee prison.
He makes his way to his girlfriend Alexis’ (Kate del Castillo) house in Atlanta only to murder her, too, when he learns she’s already involved with another man. Colin remains so blinded with rage as he drives away that he crashes his stolen car into a tree along a suburban country road.
He subsequently knocks on the door of Terri Granger (Taraji P. Henson), an attorney-turned-stay at home mom whose husband (Henry Simmons) has conveniently just left town with his father away for a weekend golf getaway. Against the former prosecutor’s better judgment, she lets the tall, dark and handsome stranger enter the house, and it isn’t long before there’s trouble in paradise.
After all as the proverb suggested by the title warns, “No good deed goes unpunished.” Accordingly, Terri and her two young kids find themselves in the clutches of a desperate maniac until the protective mother’s maternal and survival instincts kick into high gear.
No Good Deed was ostensibly inspired by The Desperate Hours, a suspiciously-similar Broadway play starring Paul Newman which was first adapted to the big screen in 1955 starring Humphrey Bogart, and remade in 1990 with Sir Anthony Hopkins. Thanks to Mr. Elba’s menacing intensity, a potentially mediocre variation on the theme ends up elevated into a tension-filled gutwrencher his loyal fans won’t want to miss.
Very Good (3 stars)
Rated PG-13 for violence and profanity
Running time: 84 minutes
Distributor: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Blu-ray Extras: Three featurettes: Making a Thriller; The Thrill of a Good Fight; and Good Samaritan.
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