Samuel L. Jackson has made a career of being an action star. Starring in movies the likes of xXx, Pulp Fiction, and most recently Marvel’s Avengers and its related movies among many others has made him a household name. His resume stretches all the way back to the early 1970’s. So starring in IFC Films’ latest action/drama, The Samaritan, was old hat for this veteran actor. Starring as ex-con Foley, Jackson eases his way throughout the story written by Elan Mastai and David Weaver. Having played so many roles throughout his career, he shows once again his ability to adapt to any role and any story.
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.
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