Monday, 10 August 2015



Depressingly ordinary thriller which could hardly be any more by-the-numbers if it just consisted of Idris Elba counting things. There's no sense of mystery going on in the film except how everyone - studios, cinemas - thought this would be worth a theatrical release, even a brief one. Don't misunderstand: I generally enjoy violent psychopath thrillers and I'm all in favour of them playing provincial Cineworlds and Odeons, if only as an alternative to the current obsession with colourful superhero nonsense, but there are limits.

Because all the time you're watching No Good Deed, you're constantly thinking there has to be something more going on, some imminent revelation or plot twist. Surely there has to be some other reason for convicted killer Idris Elba to escape from his prison van than his parole application being rejected because of his anger management issues? Is he actually out to unmask the real killer whose crimes he went to jail for and thereby prove his innocence? It can't be that Idris Elba is just playing a violent, misogynistic, "malignant narcissist" sociopath who beats one woman to death and then systematically victimises another woman (Taraji P Henson) and her two children in their own home?

The whole thing is riddled with contrivance: it just happens that there's a massive storm which gives Henson a reason to let Elba into the house in the first place, it just happens that a falling branch smashes a window which conveniently distracts Elba from having to answer awkward questions, it just happens that someone rings a dropped mobile at precisely the right moment which handily sorts out the film's final act. No Good Deed is well mounted and looks good, but it's entirely unremarkable and the only surprise to be had is that there are no surprises to be had, unless you're likely to be shocked by the number 17 coming after number 16.


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