Blallywood Film Review: No Good Deed
Colin Evans is suspected of murdering several women. Though the evidence was insufficient to convict on those charges, we meet him as he is up for parole after serving time for manslaughter in a bar brawl after another man made eyes at his fiancée. A member of the parole board describes him as a “malignant narcissist” and parole is denied despite a heartfelt speech about having been rehabilitated. As he is transported back to prison, he (very easily) overtakes the officers, hijacks the van, and makes a run for it.
The story picks up when he lands on Terri’s doorstep after crashing his stolen SUV on a back road. His charm and undeniable sex appeal grant him entrance to the home of the weary and neglected housewife whose husband is away on a golfing trip. The rest is a heavy-handed dance as Elba and Henson struggle for power over the safe space Terri created for her two young children that is now under siege.
I am a huge fan of thriller movies. “The Fugitive” and “The Hand that Rocks the Cradle” were two of my favorite movies as a kid. It may sound strange, but I loved the suspense, the twisted characters, and the cathartic climax of watching the victim overcome in the end. I assumed and hoped “No Good Deed” would hit those notes for me. Sadly, it wasn’t pitch perfect.
Despite the valiant efforts of Henson and Elba, both very capable movie stars, the film falters in crucial areas.
The script is wrought with bad decisions and poor framing. The opening montage of the movie features a sequence of exposition in which a reporter discusses the charges surrounding Evans. The parole hearing is a big deal, with demonstrators, paparazzi, and heavy media coverage. Terri explains to Colin pretty early in their encounter that she is a former district attorney. I found it difficult to believe that she hadn’t heard of Colin Evans or seen his face on TV just weeks before he shows up on her doorstep. This is a woman who, before settling down, had devoted her life to criminal justice. She doesn’t watch the news?
When Terri and Colin are pulled over by a police officer in the middle of the night, thanks to Terri subtly flashing her high beams for help, not only doesn’t the officer recognize Colin, he also pulls Terri aside to question her about flashing her lights. It’s obvious she’s in distress, yet instead of calling for backup, or apprehending them, he questions her pretty audibly beside the car. Once Colin hears, he attacks and kills the police officer.
Once they get where they’re going, the story unfolds to reveal a pretty anemic twist of plot and the chain of events finally makes sense. It’s too little too late. The behavior of the characters is too incomprehensible and Colin’s anger feels a bit gratuitous and egotistical. He isn’t a sharp and exacting criminal so the progression is pretty uninteresting.
There just isn’t enough depth to merit the cinematic platform. The story would have faired just as well on the small screen. D.